Florence in May offer up some colourful possibilities to the curious visitor. There are beautiful gardens and villas to explore, flower festivals and a flag-throwing competition to be seen, and a whole event dedicated to the humble cricket. The temperatures are rising in May, so you can enjoy the chance to spend some time outside.
Discover the best of Florence with our Florence Travel Guide.
=> Check out the Top Day Trips from Florence!
What to expect from Florence in May
1st of May Trofeo Marzocco flag throwing competition
May opens in Florence with a flag throwing event known as the ‘Trofeo Marzocco’ in the very impressive setting of Piazza Signoria. Different groups will join this competition to show off their skills and tricks with the flags, creating great acrobatic spectacles of colour. Join in the fun at this truly Florentine activity and enjoy the parade in historic costumes, all for free. The art of flag throwing dates back to the Medieval period in Italy, and for one day you’ll be transported back to those times. (Show starts at 3pm, see their FB page).
Visit two very special gardens in May – Rose Garden and Iris Garden
The iris flower is the symbol of Florence, and the iris garden offers a great multicoloured show in May (they’re at their best half way through the month depending on the weather). You’ll find more than a thousand varieties of Iris in this garden set on a steep hill overlooking Florence. It can be reached from Piazzale Michelangelo, and entrance is free. It’s a scenic spot perfect for taking photos and enjoying a flowery stroll. It’s usually open between 25th April to the last week of May (for 2023: from 25th April to 20th May 2023).
=> Discover Florence’s Best Gardens!
Nearby you find the Rose Garden, another scenic green space that offers wonderful views of the city. The roses are in full bloom in May, Florence stretches out languidly before your eyes, and there are even a few contemporary sculptures by Folon to keep you company.
Artigianato Fair – from 25th April to 1st May 2023
The traditional Festa dell’Artigianato – International Craft Fair – is held every year at the Fortezza in Florence. You’ll find artisans and their colourful original creations, coming to Florence from every corner of Italy and the world, from France to Peru, Morocco to Pakistan. An international feast of ideas and artisanal skills right in the centre of Florence.
Fiorita commemoration of Savonarola’s death – 23rd May
If you happen to walk around Florence city centre in the morning of the 23rd of May, you might see something unusual happening in Piazza Signoria. Flower petals are laid on the spot where, on 23rd May 1498, the religious zealot – friar Girolamo Savonarola – was executed and burnt, after ruling the Florentine Republic for four years. A parade in historical costume accompanies this symbolic gesture that commemorates that tragic time in the history of Florence.
Do you like the idea of a folkloric festival? Find out about Tuscany’s best traditional festivals.
Festa del Grillo – Cascine
Does a Cricket Festival sound weird? Until a few years ago you could actually buy a small cage with a cricket inside (kids used to love it!) at this huge lively market held in the Cascine Park along the river Arno. The cricket, a symbol of spring, is today sold in form of a small toy. There are many stalls selling food, clothing and various other items. It’s usually held at the end of May – this year 21st of May 2023.
Florence Flower Festival (25th April – 1st May 2023)
The annual flower festival will be brightening up Florence from 25th April to 1st May at the Giardino dell’Orticultura (just 15 minutes by bus from the city centre). It’s a week dedicated to the world of flowers and plants, with more than 60 stands from Tuscany and other parts of Italy – showing succulent, seasonal flowers, plenty of roses and bulbs, and local beautiful terracotta vases.
Check out all the best events and some ideas for your trip to Tuscany in May.
Contemporary Art at Palazzo Strozzi (until 18th June 2023)
If you’re visiting Florence in May you still have time to check out the exhibit “Reaching for the stars” in Palazzo Strozzi => a collection of various contemporary artworks, from sculptures, photos, videos, installation by international artists (here a few names: Maurizio Cattelan, Sarah Lucas, Damien Hirst, Lara Favaretto, Cindy Sherman, William Kentridge, Josh Kline).
Take a day trip – Nature and scenery near Florence
May is a busy time in Florence, and the city centre can get quite intense after a few days of sightseeing. Why not take a break from the crowds and head out to the Pratolino Park, near Vaglia north of Florence. It’s a vast green space that was once owned and restructured by the Medici family. You can walk, have a relaxing picnic and see the famous gigantic statue by Giambologna.
Another great day trip is the Medicean Villa Petraia. Located a few kilometres outside Florence, there is a terraced garden and a lovely interior that was refurbished by none other than the king of Italy.
For a nice breath of fresh air, the small village of Fiesole is just a short bus ride away, offering great views over Florence, plenty of green, and an ancient Roman theatre. You can take a walk up the hill to the Convento di San Francesco, a peaceful and scenic spot.
Florence in May – What’s the weather like?
The temperatures in May are ideal, average 24 degrees (74 F) max and 12/13 degrees (55 F) min. By the end of the month it gets a bit warmer (temperatures can reach 26 during the day, whereas evenings are always cooler at around 15 degrees). The chance of rain decreases in the second half of May (9 days average rainy day).
Overall May is a great time to be here. Bring layers, a medium-light jacket for the evening, during the day you need a light jacket or nothing.
(Post last update: April 2023)