If you decide to take your trip to Rome in May, feel lucky because it will be a trip to remember. From the 1st of May (Primo Maggio Concert) until the end of the month (Roma Summer Fest) there is no shortage of exclusive events such as: Open House Roma, the 88th Edition of the Rome Horse Race, the Night of Museums or the opening of the Garden Rose, among other events.
Moreover, in May itself, and thanks to its characteristics, you will be able to appreciate more closely and accurately the many Roman architectural structures by buying tickets to St. Peter's Basilica, or by immersing yourself in the depths of the ancient Roman city thanks to walks through the Roman Catacombs.
1. Enjoy exclusive musical concerts
If you are a classical music lover, you should not miss the opportunity to take a seat and feel the sounds materialise and the notes resonate in your senses. To enjoy an opera concert in Rome is a unique experience, simply magical.
Moreover, the musical concerts at the Autditorium Conciliazion enjoy an unmistakable impact in spring, and especially in the months of March and May. So if you are travelling in May, and you like opera and symphony orchestras, it would be a sin to miss such an opportunity.
2. See Rome by moonlight
We're not going to kid ourselves, Rome in May is high season, but unlike other months that also have a lot of tourism, in May the weather is stable and very mild, and even more so when the sun goes down. So it's a great time to enjoy the Italian capital by moonlight.
But why would I be interested in seeing Rome at night? You may ask. For a very specific reason. Rome's main monuments are illuminated, giving the city a unique and beautiful appearance. I assure you that it will seem like a totally different city to the one you have seen during the day.
In this case, I recommend you to book a night tour of Rome, as this way you will be accompanied by a guide and you will be able to learn more about the history of the city.
3. Don't leave without discovering the Sistine Chapel and Catacombs
May is a special month to visit the catacombs of Rome, as it is a season when the good weather makes it possible to walk through the damp corridors that run through the bowels of the ancient city in a much more pleasant way.
The previous case also applies to the Sistine Chapel, as you will be able to enjoy this marvel with greater precision and comfort.
4. Take a leisurely bike ride in true Roman style.
The month of May in Rome is undoubtedly the best month to enjoy a pleasant climate and an atmosphere that mixes springtime beauty with the best touches of summer. Therefore, it is almost a cultural sign to see both tourists and Italians cycling around enjoying the beautiful panorama.
You can cycle in the morning and enjoy the beautiful Roman squares or even the ancient and historical streets in natural light. In this case, it can also be interesting to book a bike tour in Rome to be accompanied by a guide who will show you the best routes and places.
5. Explore the artistic beauty of Rome during the Night of the Museums.
If you love art and travel a lot, you may be familiar with the name of this event, as it also takes place in other European countries. In the case of the Roman capital this event takes place in mid-May, with most museums opening their doors for free from 8PM.
Who knows? You might get the chance to see the statue of Apollo and Daphne in person, or even contemplate the artistic beauty of Caravaggio's paintings. If you love art, May should be your favourite month to get up close to some of the most iconic paintings, sculptures and monuments in human history. Don't miss out!
6. Don't miss the Primo Maggio Concert
The Primo Maggio Concert is one of the most important events in Rome. It is a musical marathon where multiple Italian and international artists flood the atmosphere with incredible musical recitals.
There will also be room for many other cultural activities that make Piazza San Giovanni (the area where the concert will take place) shine brighter than ever.
The Piazza San Giovanni Concert has been held by the three Italian labour unions since 1990. An event exclusive to the month of May, falling on the 1st of the month (hence the name), so if your idea is to go in May, it's a no-brainer to manage to be there.
The "Concertone del Primo de Maggio" is a free concert and usually starts around 14:00 and ends at the end of the day, i.e. at 00:00. Also, as an added bonus, there are usually 2 or 3 songs performed by each artist before the next guest.
It is advisable to get to the square as early as possible as, being an exclusive event in the Italian capital, it is not unusual to see the square packed with tourists and Italians before the concert opens.
Keep in mind that this is a busy day in Rome, as many shops will be closed and the streets more lively and cheerful than at almost any other time of the year.
7. Make the most of Open House Rome
Don't miss this unique and exclusive event in Rome as it is a day when public and private buildings, some even out of reach of most tourists, open their doors for free guided tours
. This event takes place either the first or the second weekend of May and will give you access to different cultural and historical buildings, from the ancient to the neoclassical. Whether you are an architecture lover or not, I have no doubt that you will nostalgically remember every detail.
To take advantage of these benefits you must book through the official website of the Rome Open House
8. Don't leave Rome without visiting the Summer Fest
What better way to bid farewell to the month of May than with the Roma Summer Fest. This is a unique event that will bring May to a close and bring the arrival of summer ever more clearly into view. This event takes place in the Auditorium Parco della Musica, not far from Piazza del Popolo, and can be easily reached by bus or tram.
The programme includes mostly rock music, but without ignoring the latest in jazz and international music. It is also worth mentioning that just before the Roma Summer Fest, i.e. just before the last gasps of May, you will be able to find out exactly what events will take place, including the names of the artists to be seen.
9. Enjoy the historic horse race in Piazza di Siena
The historic horse race competition is a Roman tradition. If you are a turf fan and you are in Rome at the end of May, you should not miss this incredible annual competition, as you can expect an unrivalled atmosphere in the Piazza di Siena.
If witnessing the horse races from a distance is already a major visual impact, imagine what it is like to see those strong horses in person, enjoy the show in real time, and hear every gallop they give in the centre of the Roman capital.
You can check the programme on the official website of the event.
10. Enjoy the Rose Garden in style
If you decide to go in May, keep in mind that you will see a very green and beautiful Rome. What's more, you will be able to afford the luxury of visiting the Rose Garden every day, completely free of charge. Not only that, but officially by mid-May all of Rome's gardens will be ready to receive visitors.
Rome has a very peculiar way of enjoying spring in full bloom, and its way of doing so is by inaugurating the opening of the Rose Garden, an unprecedented experience in which you will be able to witness with your sight and smell a countless number of flowers and scents. It is undoubtedly a magical place with a unique atmosphere that will mark your stay in the Roman capital.
The weather in Rome in May
The weather in May in the Italian capital is usually quite pleasant and welcoming; indeed, it is undoubtedly one of the best months to enjoy this magnificent city and all that it entails. You'll be able to enjoy a pleasant climate that will allow you to take on almost anything, from the most sedentary to the most dynamic, without fear of the weather acting as an antagonist.
In terms of clothing, it would be wise to bring a bit of everything, as there will be days with summer air and other cooler days. Rain, although rare in this month, should not be ruled out. However, for a more precise organisation, I recommend some of the official weather pages so that you don't get caught out by the bull.
What about Rome's gastronomy in May?
Rome's gastronomy in May takes on a special flavour and stands out like never before. Good weather and good harvests mean that gastronomic diversity in the Roman capital is a considerable feature. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that the pleasure of good food was born in the ancient Roman city. Among the most popular dishes served in Rome in May are:
- La Sagra del Carciofo
- The Sagra del Pesce
- Spring Cake
- Crostata di marmalata (jam crostata)
- Crocchette di patate
If your mouth is already watering, here is an article about the best places to eat in Rome.
Rome's tourist crowds in May
The peculiarity of this month of the year in Rome is that it tends to have both summer and spring characteristics, which means that there are not as many tourists as there might be in summer or other festive and punctual dates of the year. This is a real pleasure for those who want to enjoy this historic city without feeling so crowded.
Moreover, as it is a month where the tourist influx is not so exaggerated, it is possible to find interesting exclusive offers and price reductions that will allow you to indulge in certain whims and cravings.
Is May one of the best months to visit Rome?
If I had to decide on the best time to visit Rome, May would be one of my choices. Indeed, May is undoubtedly one of the most attractive months to see every corner of this beautiful city. The weather in Rome in May is quite pleasant and you can enjoy several days with an ideal temperature. You will also be able to visit squares, fountains and other public areas more freely thanks to the less crowded streets.
Best of all, May is precisely one of the most unusual months for Rome, so you can sign up for many unique May plans and enjoy amazing events of all kinds.