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Rome in May: an updated practical guide

If you travel to Rome in May, feel lucky! An ideal climate and a moderate influx of tourists will allow you to enjoy, more than ever, its incredible events and festivals.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

9 min read

Rome in May: an updated practical guide

Piazza di Spagna in Rome | © Daniel Basso

If you decide to embark on your trip to Rome in May, feel lucky because it will be a trip to remember. From May 1 (Primo Maggio Concert) to the end of the month (Roma Summer Fest) there are 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.

In addition, in the same month of May, and thanks to its characteristics, you can appreciate more closely and accurately the many Roman architectural structures by purchasing 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. Don't miss the Primo Maggio Concert at Piazza San Giovanni in Rome

Primo Maggio Concert| ©Simona Caleo/Cgil
Primo Maggio Concert| ©Simona Caleo/Cgil

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 , a real treat for the ears! Not only that, but there will also be room for multiple other cultural activities that make Piazza San Giovanni (the area where the concert will take place) shine more than a little brighter.

The Piazza San Giovanni Concert has been held by the three Italian labor unions since 1990! An event exclusive to the month of May, falling right on the 1st of the month (hence its name); therefore, if your idea is to go in May, it is no nonsense to manage to be present there.

Concert Information

The "Concertone del Primo de Maggio" is a free concert and usually starts around 14:00 and ends at the end of the day, that is at 00:00. In addition, as a bonus, they usually perform between 2 and 3 songs per artist and then give way to the next guest.

It would be advisable to arrive as early as possible to the square, since, being an exclusive event in the Italian capital, it is not uncommon to see the square full of tourists and Italians before the concert opens its curtains.

Traveler's tip

Keep in mind that this is a busy day in Rome, as many stores will be closed and the streets will be livelier and more cheerful than at almost any other time of the year.

2. Take advantage of Open House Rome - A Unique Event

Visiting the Pantheon at Open House Roma| ©Joan
Visiting the Pantheon at Open House Roma| ©Joan

Do not miss this exclusive and unique event in Rome, a day in which public and private buildings, some of them out of reach of most tourists, open their doors to receive guided tours free of charge.

This event occurs either the first or the second weekend of May, and in which you will be able to have access to different cultural and historical buildings, from ancient to neoclassical. Whether you are a lover of architecture or not, I have no doubt that you will remember with nostalgia every detail observed.

Important! To take advantage of these benefits you need to make reservations through the official website of the Open House in Rome

3. Explore the artistic beauty of Rome during the Night of the Museums

Statue of Apollo and Daphne in Rome| ©Architas
Statue of Apollo and Daphne in Rome| ©Architas

If you love art and you usually travel a lot, perhaps the name of this event will ring a bell, as it also takes place in other European countries. In the case of the Roman capital this event takes place in mid-May, and in which most museums open their doors for free from 8PM. Moreover, you can even buy tickets for the Capitoline Museums or buy tickets for the Borghese Gallery to complete an unforgettable experience.

Who knows? Maybe you'll get a chance to see the statue of Apollo and Daphne in person, or even contemplate the artistic beauty that shines from Caravaggio's paintings. If you love art, May should be your favorite month to get up close to some of the most iconic paintings, sculptures and monuments in the history of mankind. Don't miss out!

Book your tickets for the Capitoline Museums

4. Don't leave Rome without visiting the Summer Fest

Rome Summer Fest| ©Rockon.it
Rome Summer Fest| ©Rockon.it

What better way to say goodbye to the month of May than with the Roma Summer Fest! This is a unique event with which we will close the chapter of May to see more and more clearly the arrival of summer. This event takes place at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, not far from Piazza del Popolo, and can be easily reached by bus or streetcar.

It is a program that 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, that is, just before the last sighs of May, it will be possible to know precisely all the acts that will be performing, including the names of the artists that will be present.

5. Enjoy the historic horse race in the Piazza di Siena

Piazza di Siena| ©Simone Ferraro
Piazza di Siena| ©Simone Ferraro

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 an unrivaled atmosphere is expected in Piazza di Siena.

If witnessing the horse races from a distance already causes an important visual impact, imagine what it's like to see those strong horses in person, enjoy the show in real time, and hear every gallop they give in the center of the Roman capital.
You can check the program on the official website of the event.

6. Enjoy the best evenings in the historic center of Rome in May

Nights in Campo de Fiori| ©Allie_Caulfield
Nights in Campo de Fiori| ©Allie_Caulfield

The lights, the temperature and the atmosphere of Rome make May one of the best months to visit the Italian capital. Roman events and evening plans on that date are the order of the day, and there is no end to the places to visit.

Undoubtedly, Campo de Fiori square is one of the most important places in May, as it becomes the epicenter of nightlife, especially among young people, since from there you can go almost anywhere in the city.

Another of the iconic places in Rome to enjoy an exceptional evening is in Trastevere, a historic district full of bars and restaurants that extend their districts outdoors to make both sight and taste equally enjoyable.

Book a tour of Trastevere

7. Enjoy the Rose Garden in style

Rome's Municipal Rose Garden| ©MM
Rome's Municipal Rose Garden| ©MM

If you decide to go in May, keep in mind that you will see a very green and beautiful Rome; moreover, you can afford to visit the Rose Garden every day! and totally 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 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.

8. Don't leave without discovering the Sistine Chapel and Catacombs of Rome

Sistine Chapel| ©Richard Mortel
Sistine Chapel| ©Richard Mortel

The month of May is a special month to visit the catacombs of Rome, because it is a season in which the good weather and the interest for another kind of leisure, makes it possible that the walks through the damp corridors that run through the bowels of the ancient city are made in a much more pleasant way; no doubt, this is one of :::link| los 5 mejores lugares de Roma =|element= sc-124-1607::: to see from up close.

The previous case also applies to the Sistine Chapel, a fact that will allow you to enjoy with greater precision and comfort these architectural wonders, which also have an important religious background.

Book your tickets to the Vatican

9. Take a pleasant bike ride in pure Roman style

Enjoying a bike ride in Roman style| ©Blue Bird
Enjoying a bike ride in Roman style| ©Blue Bird

The month of May in Rome is undoubtedly the best month to enjoy pleasant weather and an atmosphere that mixes spring beauty with the best summer touches. Therefore, it is almost a cultural sign to see both tourists and Italians moving around on bicycles enjoying a healthy solar radiation while nourishing their views with a beautiful panorama.

You can cycle in the morning and enjoy the beautiful Roman squares or even the ancient and historic streets in natural light. You can also choose to cycle in the evening to enjoy the cooler weather, the lights of Rome's fountains and the nightlife.

10. Make the most of your stay by enjoying the exclusive musical concerts at the Auditorium Conciliazione.

Outside the Auditorium Conciliazione in Rome| ©Gustavo La Pizza
Outside the Auditorium Conciliazione in Rome| ©Gustavo La Pizza

If you are a symphony orchestra lover, you should not miss the opportunity to take a seat and feel how the sounds materialize and the notes resonate in your senses. Enjoying an orchestral concert in Rome is a unique experience, simply magical.

The musical concerts of the Autditorium Conciliazion enjoy an unmistakable impact in spring, and especially in the months of March and May. So if you are traveling in May, and you love opera and symphony orchestras, missing such an opportunity is a sin.

Rome's weather in May

Strolling around Rome| ©Jordan Rowland
Strolling around Rome| ©Jordan Rowland

Speaking of weather, 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 will be able to enjoy a pleasant climate that will allow you to take part in almost any plan, from the most sedentary to the most dynamic, without fearing that the weather may act as an antagonist.

In terms of clothing, it would be best to bring a little bit of everything, since there will be days with summer air and other cooler days, rains, although rare in that month, should not be ruled out. However, for a more precise organization I recommend you some of the official weather pages so that you don't get caught by the bulls, I' m sure you'll thank me!

What about Rome's gastronomy in May?

Enjoying a dish from Sagra del Carciofo| ©Andrea M
Enjoying a dish from Sagra del Carciofo| ©Andrea M

The gastronomy of Rome in May takes on a special flavor that stands out as never before, the good weather and the good harvests make the gastronomic diversity in the Roman capital a considerable feature. Moreover, it should not be forgotten that the pleasure for good food was born in the ancient Roman city.

Among the dishes most commonly served in Rome in May are:

  • La Sagra del Carciofo
  • La Sagra del Pesce
  • Spring Cake
  • Crostata di marmalata (jam crostata)
  • Bruschetta
  • Potato crocchette

If your mouth is already watering, I leave you with this article on the best places to eat in Rome.

The tourist flow in Rome in May

Visiting the Vatican City| ©Kai Pilger
Visiting the Vatican City| ©Kai Pilger

The particularity of this month of the year in Rome is that it usually has summer and spring characteristics at the same time, this makes that there are not as many tourists as it could happen in summer or other festive and punctual date of the year. Such a detail is a pleasure for those who wish to enjoy this historic city without feeling overwhelmed.

In addition, being 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 certain whims and cravings for the memory.

Is May one of the best months to visit Rome?

Trevi Fountain| ©Michele Bitetto
Trevi Fountain| ©Michele Bitetto

If I had to decide which is the best time to visit Rome, May would be one of my choices. Indeed, May is undoubtedly one of the most attractive months to contemplate 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. In addition, you will be able to visit squares, fountains and other public areas with greater freedom thanks to the lower tourist influx.

And the best of all is that May is precisely one of the most unusual months for Rome, so you can sign up for multiple exclusive May plans and enjoy amazing events of all kinds.