Venice: May Weather AveragesDaily averages for May
|Sunshine Hours||11 hrs|
|Chance of Sunny Day||30 %|
|Rainfall days||11 days|
|Chance of Rain||34 %|
|Chance of Cloudy Day||12 %|
|Chance of Windy Day||5 %|
Daily averages for May
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Averages for Venice in May
May is the official start of the tourist season in Venice and this is when temperatures really begin to soar. Travellers flock to the canals, restaurants extend their evening hours and the sunshine warms the whole city up. Do be warned, as Italy braces for its first heatwaves during this month. The canals can get pungent and the bugs can get overwhelming. Crowds cram into gondolas, hotels raise their rates, and it can get quite uncomfortable.
The average temperature now reaches up to around highs of 21°C (that's about 70°F), with minimum temperatures being around 12°C (about 54°F). Simple shirts and pants or shorts would be appropriate, though do remember to pack a light cardigan in case of a cool breeze, Make sure you check the local weather report before you travel.
There are about 15 hours of average daily sunshine. Over the course of the month, the length of day increases by about 2.1 minutes daily. The shortest day of the month is May 1 with 14:19 hours of sunlight, and the longest day is May 31 with 15:25 hours of sunlight.
You can expect to experience rain on an average of 13 days in this month. The average monthly rain is around 69mm. Each day there is about 44% chance of precipitation, which usually occurs as moderate rain or thunderstorms, and occasionally as light rain.
May skies above Venice are partly cloudy, maintaining around 44% cloud cover throughout the month. Humidity ranges from mildly humid 53% (mildly humid) to 93% (very humid). The air is most humid around May 1, above 90%, and driest around the last week of May, when it drops below 61%.
Daily wind speed averages vary from no wind to 12 mph (gentle breeze), rarely exceeding 20 mph. Wind typically blows from the north or the northeast.
Over the course of May, the temperature rises dramatically. At the beginning, averages are around 15°C (59°F), with highs of 18°C (66°F) and lows of 11°C (52°F). Around the middle of the month, averages are around 17°C (63°F), with highs of 21°C (70°F) and lows of 13°C (56°F). By the end, averages are 19°C (66°F), with highs of 23°C (74°F) and lows of 15°C (60°F).
THINGS TO DO
The sunshine and warmth of early summer attracts the densest crowds to Venice in the month of May. You should be able to escape the worst of the throng, however, if you simply duck in an alleyway or any of the neighbourhood wine bars off the popular areas of Rialto and San Marco.
If you have a moment, take a gondola ride beneath the Bridge of Sighs. The Ponte des Sospiri connects the Doge's Palace to the dungeons, and was used in Renaissance times to transport prisoners from the courtroom to prisons. The bridge got its name for the lamentations that prisoners made while they walked. These days it's associated with a brighter note, local lore says if two lovers kiss underneath the bridge, they'll be granted eternal bliss.
Gondola ride beneath the Bridge of Sighs, Venice.
You can’t go to Venice without visiting the Doge’s Palace (San Marco 1)—a grand, ethereal residence that was for centuries the chief seat of government. You can wander around for free with a Museum Pass, or take a guided tour through the history of this grand structure and its secret passageways.
With a city as old as Venice, there are bound to be a few skeletons in its closet. The Palazzo Ca'Dario is said to be the most haunted location in town. Local legend decrees that it is cursed due to it being built above a Knights Templar cemetery in 1487. Supposedly, each of its owners or their guests have consequently suffered dramatic deaths--often suicide or murder. Recently, the palazzo has been offered for sale to the Guggenheim and Benetton families, and Woody Allen and Elton John, all of whom have turned it down.
Families with children might want to stop by Gilberto Penzo’s (2681 San Polo), a small shop where you can buy DIY models of gondolas. Or drop by Mosaici Dona Murano (86 Fondamenta Manin Murano) to try your own hand at mosaic-making. This shop sells packets of glass of all colours and shapes, complete with glue.
Getting in the mood for shopping? Stop by Signor Blum (2840 Dorsoduro), which sells handmade puzzles and games. Or pick up your own traditional gondolier footwear, made from old bicycle tyres and stitches, in various colours at Piedaterre (60 San Polo).
If you want to keep the children truly engaged, why not rent a helicopter for an unparalleled view of Venice? Heliair (Aeroporto G. Nicelli) arranges 10- and 20-minute tours of Venice.
View of Venice from above.
So you think rowing a gondola is easy? Take a two-hour private lesson at Row Venice (30121 Venice), popular with children. It takes practice to row standing up on a single oar and not toppling when a motorboat passes. Arranged by appointment only, so call ahead. For ages 10 and up.
With good weather comes the summer festivals, and in May there are ample opportunities to catch a regatta or procession in and around Venice . The Festa della Sparesca is held on 1st May and is a regatta and festival in Cavallino. The 5th May is the Festa Medioevale del vino Soave Bianco Soave, where the town of Soave holds a medieval procession. Wine lovers will enjoy the Vapollicellore on the 8th May, with is a festival of local wine in Cellore, complete with wine tasting and exhibitions. Vogalonga is a rowing regatta which stretches over 20 miles and attracts over 3000 participants. And the Palio delle Quattro Antiche Repubbliche Marinare sees Venice, Pisa, Amalfi and Genoa take turns to host the historic Regatta of the Four Ancient Maritime Republics.
HIT THE BEACH
Venice’s seaside resort, Lido, is a long sandbar just south of the city. Lido still has the small canals and impressive views of the lagoon, but offers a more trendy vibe than its sister city. There are several upscale homes and hotels in the area, and its island vibe and friendly atmosphere make it a perfect retreat from the summer hubbub of Venice.
Lido has a few claims to fame: Thomas Mann wrote A Death in Venice here, and the 1972 movie based on the book was filmed here. Other films shot here include The English Patient and Casino Royale. Lido is also famous for the Movie Festival, held every year at the end of August.
Lido beach is a great area to bring families. You can try your hand at watersports such as jetski, or take a languid bicycle ride through the Belle Epoque streets. The island is only 12 minutes from San Marco by public transport.
Lido beach, Lido di Jesolo.
Another worthwhile beach is on Albarella Island, located in a nature reserve. The island itself is only five by two kilometres wide, but it's pristine sand and local tranquility remain unmatched. Due to it being a private beach, Albarella Beach is only accessible by guests who have booked vacations there.
EATING & DRINKING OUT
The traditional Venetian dish tends to be light, innovative pasta coupled with varieties of seafood. Snacks and light drinks are also an indelible part of the culture--and you'll often find locals enjoying a glass of spritz or aperitif in the middle of the day with a light appetiser. The best place to be on a summer afternoon is at the bacaro--a small, local bar where Venetians come to relax and socialise.
If you are in the Rialto market and fancy a place to sit down, stop by Al Muro (Campo Bella Vienna) for a quick bite. This eatery is popular with locals and tourists alike, and it's no wonder with their specialties of deep fried fish.
Al Muro Venice.
Another great place for a casual meal is La Bea Vita (Fondamenta delle Cappuccine, Cannaregio 3082), with its canal-side terrace. Keep your eye out for the menu operai, a hearty, midday lunch that will set you back no more than 15 euros or so. Or sample the wines at Enoteca Cantione Gia Schiavi (Fondamenta Nani 992). This family-run wine shop offers 20-30 different cichetti each day for you to munch on while making your wine selection.
Despite Catina do Spade (Calle Do Spade, 860 San Polo) being one of Venice's oldest restaurants, its dishes continue to delight and inspire. Stop by for a spritz and cichetti like creamed salt cod, pumpkin ravioli, or fried mozzarella. The bar boasts that Casanova himself used to wine and dine here.
Pizza is not one of the island's specialties--you'll be hard-pressed to find a pizzeria and Venice has banned wood-fired ovens from the city entirely. You can still find tasty slices, however--try Al Nono Risorto (Sotoportego de Siora Bettina), which serves thin-crust with pesto to die for.
Top off your meal with a visit to Vizio Virtu (San Polo, 2898/a), which specialises in all things chocolate--truffles, hot chocolate, gelato, brittles and more.
Chocolate truffles at Vizio Virtu. Photo by Brian Sibley.
Rosa Salva (Campo San Giovanni e Paolo) is a catering and banqueting company that also serves pastries and traditional Venetian cakes. Stop by for their chocolates and their spritz al bitter. For something more intimate, try Da Bonifacio (Calle degli Albanesi, Castello 4237), a tiny bakery renowned for its flaky almond croissants and cornmeal biscuits. You'll often see a local downing one of these pastries along with the signature spritz.
WHERE TO STAY
If you’d rather avoid the crowds, set up shop on the nearby island of Murano. LaGare Hotel (Riva Longa 30141) is a newly opened establishment set in a former glass furnace. This quirky historical property has 118 spacious guest rooms, with A/C, ensuite bathroom, minibar, TV and free wifi. Admire the glass artwork by Venini in the lounge areas or have dinner at the elegant on-site restaurant. The views are mostly nondescript, however—so if you have your heart set on a canal view, look elsewhere.
Residenza de l’Osmarin (San Marco Castello 4960) is an intimate bed and breakfast with just three rooms. Just a short walk to San Marco, with a splendid view of the Osmarin canal. Rooms are equipped with A/C and heating, satellite TV, bathroom and bidet, shower and wi-fi. The flower room on the second floor has a private terrace that overlooks the inner courtyard.
Residenza de l'Osmarin, Venice.
Campiello Zen (Rio Terrà Malamocco) is another top-notch guesthouse with just three rooms. Each one is equipped with heating and A/C, wifi, LCD TV, warddrobe, private bathroom with mosaic or tile, and a wardrobe. A breakfast of fresh croissants, coffee, tea and juice is served in the common area or in your room. The hotel is situated on the main floor of a 16th century historic buliding in Santa Croce, near to excellent restaurants like Vini da Fiore and La Zucca.
For travellers looking for that luxury option, try the Luna Hotel Baglioni (San Marco 1243). This historic hotel is right in the heart of Venice which offers large, airy rooms and suites. Views are of the streets, inner courtyard, or the canal, and extra beds available on request.
The Palazzo Sant’Angelo (San Marco 3878/b) is another stunning splurge option. The hotel is right on the Grand Canal, situated between the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square. With refined interior, silk wall coverings and rich colours. Besides the standard amenities, the property includes handicapped facilities, Jacuzzi, bar, coffee shop, doctor on call and hairdresser.
The Albarella Resort Hotel (Rosolina RO) is the only accommodation on the private island of Albarella. Its main draws are its stunning beach, free bicycles, tennis, golf, fishing and horse-riding. You can choose from a variety of accommodations--from self-catered apartments and terraced houses to villas with swimming pools.
Albarella Resort Hotel.