Any time is a wonderful time to be in Italy, but May is an especially wonderful time to plan an Italian holiday. Why? There are countless fabulous Spring festivals and community events happening all throughout the country, and you can combine them with our Tours Italy day trips and tours for maximum fun!
Here’s a round-up of just some of the things to do this month in Italy:
Exciting bike race set against breathtaking scenery
Sports lovers won’t want to miss the Giro d’Italia, which is Italy’s prestigious bike race and one of cycling’s three grand tours (the other two are Le Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana). This year is the 99th anniversary of the Giro d’Italia, which runs from Friday, May 6th to Sunday, May 29th.
We love this shot of the race back in 2015 c/o Gazzetta.it showing riders wending their way along Italy's Riviera:
The race is comprised of 29 stages over the weeks, with 22 teams of nine cyclists vying for top spot. The winner earns the right to wear the coveted pink jersey, which Italians know as the maglia rosa.
Don’t despair if you’re not in Italy for the start of this prestigious bike race because this year the first three stages take place in the Netherlands. The majority of the 2016 Giro d’Italia route is in Italy, taking cyclists from the south up to the exciting finish in Turin with stages 19 and 20 staged before enthusiastic crowds in France.
Visit Avventure Bellissime online now to build an Italy vacation package that will get you close to cycling’s most beautiful race route.
Tennis in the Eternal City
Italy’s other major sporting event this month is the prestigious tennis tournament called the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (it’s the Italian Open, but sponsored by BNL). It is held in Rome the second week of May and the tennis players play on clay courts.
There are both men’s and women’s competitions, with top-ranked players battling to win for singles or doubles.
You never know who you might run into in Rome during the Italian Open and you can certainly find plenty to do when you’re not watching the action on the courts. Consider walking tours of Ancient Rome, tours of the Vatican, or day tours and excursions from Rome to Pompeii, the stunning Amalfi Coast, Tivoli and Tuscany.
Festa della Palombella in Orvieto
There are many religious festivals in Italy linked to the feast days observed by Christians in the Roman Catholic tradition. One of the biggest festivals is the Festa della Palombella in the beautiful hill town Orvieto on Pentecost Day, which this year falls on May 15th.
During this festival, hundreds of people gather to watch a dove representing the Holy Spirit travel in a special carrier from the Via Maitani to the Piazza del Duomo in front of Orvieto’s exquisite Gothic cathedral. This commemorates Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles 50 days after Easter and gave them the gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.
You can be sure there is much celebration and plenty of good food available in local restaurants after this annual event. Orvieto is in the region of Umbria, which lies beside Tuscany - and there are many wonderful opportunities for adventure in Tuscany in spring.
Costumes and candles
Saints, racing, and endurance combine for an exciting strongman contest held in Umbria’s city of Gubbio in mid-May. The Corsa dei Ceri finds three teams racing through the ancient streets, as they have since the 12th century, carrying a ceri that weighs around 400 kg with a statue of either the city’s patron St. Ubaldo or St. Anthony or St. George. Springtime in Italy is never dull!
Citizens and visitors to Gubbio will be cheering on the Corsa dei Ceri participants this year on May 15th as they run the circuit through the medieval city and up the steep hill to the picturesque basilica. The team carrying the image of St. Ubaldo wears yellow, those carrying St. Anthony are decked out in black, and those carrying St. George are dressed in blue.
Join the cheering for your favorite team and enjoy the festivities, which include a torchlight procession, singing, and much celebration. Umbria is not far from Tuscany, and our exceptional Tuscany wine tours.
Night at the Museum (Italian style!)
Many of Italy’s museums, galleries, monuments and even archaeological sites will be joining many other European countries to participate in the Notte dei Musei on Saturday, May 21st this year. Not only are these cultural venues open late (from 8 p.m. to midnight), but admission is only €1 - including several sites in Rome, Milan, and Venice.
Last year over 400 Italian venues participated and this year’s schedule is being updated online right up until the evening of May 21st. Check out the Italian cultural ministry’s website for the latest information regarding Notte dei Musei.
Many other cultural institutions - like embassies and theatres - also participate and quite often admission is free. Booking your Italy vacation package over this weekend, when Notte dei Musei is a nationwide event, is a wonderful budget-friendly opportunity for art and history enthusiasts.
Enjoy the milder weather and annual festivals held during springtime in Italy: Start planning your dream holiday now when you visit Avventure Bellissime online to build your very own Italy vacation.