Walking in May on the Tuscan Stages

Walking in May on the Tuscan Stages

May is a popular time to walk the Tuscan stages, with warmer temperatures, blooming flowers, and longer daylight hours. The weather is more consistent, and rain becomes less frequent. Tourist crowds increase, but the trails remain uncrowded, and it’s easy to walk without bumping into another pilgrim.

Key Highlights

  1. May offers consistent weather, blooming flowers, and longer daylight hours for walking the Tuscan stages.
  2. Trails are uncrowded, accommodations are available, and public transportation is accessible.
  3. Enjoy seasonal foods, such as cherries, apricots, and zucchini flowers.
  4. Book accommodations in advance, especially in Florence and Pontassieve.
  5. Plan for occasional rain and dress in layers.

Weather and Trail Conditions

In May, pilgrims can expect more pleasant weather, with daily temperatures ranging from 9ºC to 18.2ºC. Rain is less frequent, and forest trails are well-formed and in good condition.

  • Average temp: 13.7ºC
  • Average Low Temp: 9ºC
  • Average High Temp: 18.2ºC
  • Rainy Days: 9
  • Rainfall (mm): 99
  • Trail Conditions: May is drier, so forest trails are well-formed and in good condition.


Dress in layers to accommodate varying weather conditions, with long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and a jacket for cooler days, early mornings, and evenings. The forest walks will be cooler than the valley towns.

Bring short-sleeved shirts, shorts, and clothing suitable for warmer days.


Walking in May is generally safe, with favorable weather conditions and well-formed trails. Be prepared for occasional rain and slippery sections of the trail.

Pilgrims and Accommodations

Number of Pilgrims

In May, the number of pilgrims increases, averaging 10-15 per stage per day. Trails are still uncrowded, and it’s easy to walk without bumping into another pilgrim.

Stages with Open Accommodations

All six stages have open accommodations.

Booking Recommendation

Book your accommodations in Florence advance, as Tuscany is moving closer to its high season and prices increase and availability decreases. Consider booking Pontassieve accommodations in advance, as there can be a crunch on available lodging. Other stages can be booked the day before arriving.

Public Transportation

Public transportation is available for all stages, including buses in the Casentinesi forests serving Camaldoli and La Verna Monasteries.

Starting in Florence in May

May is a fantastic time to visit Florence, with pleasant weather and blooming flowers. The city becomes more crowded with tourists, and prices for flights, hotels, and car rentals increase. Make sure to book all arrangements as far in advance as possible.

Experiencing Florence in May

Visitors can expect pleasant weather and a more vibrant atmosphere in May. Florence’s famous Iris Garden is open to the public for 19 days, showcasing 1,500 varieties of colorful irises in full bloom. Be prepared for larger crowds at popular venues, and book museums, restaurants, and activities well in advance.

Foreste Casentinesi National Park in May

May is an ideal time to walk through the Foreste Casentinesi National Park, with lush greenery and blooming flowers. The trails are generally dry and in good condition, and wildlife is more active. Visitors may spot deer, wild boar, and various bird species. Additionally, several monasteries, including Camaldoli and La Verna, offer unique cultural experiences for pilgrims.

Foods Highlighted in May

May is the season for cherries, apricots, and zucchini flowers. Be sure to try local dishes featuring these seasonal ingredients.

  • Zucchini Flowers: Enjoy these delicate flowers stuffed with cheese, battered, and fried for a delicious appetizer.
  • Cherries: Cherries are in season, and you can find them in various desserts, fruit salads, and as a fresh snack. Locally grown cherries are a delicious treat to enjoy during your journey.

Special Activities and Events in May

Florence and Casentino Events

  • Iris Garden: Open for 19 days in May, Florence’s famous Iris Garden showcases 1,500 varieties of irises in full bloom.

Events Later on the Trail

  • Sagra del Prugnolo: In Pieve Santo Stefano, this event highlights the prugnolo mushroom, with local restaurants offering special menus featuring the fungi, and shepherds bringing their livestock to the Maremma.
  • Festival of the Ceri (Festa dei Ceri): Held on May 15 in Gubbio, Umbria, this historic event commemorates Saint Ubaldo’s death with a colorful parade, a race between teams representing three saints, and various festivities.
  • Calendimaggio: A traditional spring festival held in Assisi in the first week of May, featuring medieval costumes, music, and competitions between the town’s two districts.
  • Flower Festival (Infiorata): Held in late May, towns such as Spello and Genzano di Roma create beautiful flower mosaics on their streets, transforming the town into a living canvas of vibrant colors and floral designs.
  • Cantina Aperte: A wine event held on the last Sunday of May, where wineries across Italy open their doors to the public for tastings and tours, providing a unique opportunity to taste local wines and learn about the winemaking process.

Tips for Walking the Tuscan Stages in May

  • Stay hydrated: Carry about 1.5-2L of water per person per day, as temperatures rise in May.
  • Wear appropriate clothing: Dress in lightweight, breathable clothing for warmer weather, but bring a light jacket for cooler mornings and evenings.
  • Booking accommodations: May is a busier month, so consider booking accommodations a few days in advance to ensure availability, especially during weekends and popular events.
  • Plan for occasional rain: While May is generally drier, it’s still possible to encounter rain. Bring a lightweight, waterproof poncho and suitable footwear.
  • Be respectful of nature and wildlife: As you explore the Foreste Casentinesi National Park, remember to respect the environment and observe wildlife from a distance.
  • Enjoy local foods: Take advantage of the seasonal foods in Tuscany.
  • Explore Florence attractions without the crowds: Although May sees an increase in tourists, it’s still possible to enjoy Florence’s attractions without long lines by planning your visit carefully and booking tickets in advance.

Beyond Tuscany

Umbria Stages: Pieve Santo Stefano to Assisi to Rieti (Stages 7-23)

After completing the Tuscan stages, pilgrims walking the remaining 22-25 days will pass through towns such as Pieve Santo Stefano, Sansepolcro, and Assisi. In these areas, expect warm temperatures and occasional rainfall. May is a particularly pleasant time to walk through Umbria, as the region is known for its lush, green countryside and charming medieval towns. Take advantage of local events, such as Calendimaggio in Assisi, to immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions.

Lazio Stages: Rieti to Rome (Stages 24-28)

As you move further south, temperatures continue to rise, and the landscape will change from mountainous terrain to rolling hills and eventually to the cityscapes of Rome and Vatican City. In this stretch, the climate becomes warmer and drier, with the possibility of hot days as pilgrims approach Rome. Be prepared for increased tourist activity in Rome, especially around popular sites such as the Vatican and Colosseum.

May is an ideal month for pilgrims to walk the Via di Francesco in Tuscany, as the weather is pleasant, flowers are in bloom, and trails are uncrowded. Keep these considerations in mind while planning your journey:

  • Weather: Enjoy daily temperatures of 9ºC to 18.2ºC and less frequent rain.
  • Crowds: Trails remain uncrowded despite increased pilgrim numbers.
  • Trail conditions: Forest trails are dry and in good condition.
  • Accommodations: Ensure availability by booking in advance, particularly in Florence and Pontassieve.
  • Events: Immerse yourself in unique cultural experiences such as Florence’s Iris Garden and local festivals throughout Tuscany.