The Florence Syndrome: So beautiful that it actually drives you mad?!


posted by on Curiosities


Upon hearing the word ‘syndrome’, you are inclined to think of something bad, something negative, or something painful. Well, this particular syndrome, the ‘Stendhal Syndrome‘ is pretty bad, but funnily enough, it is borne out of seeing something so good.

The fact that this medical affliction is also known as the Florence Syndrome may give you an idea of what it’s all about. Everyone has heard about how beautiful Florence is, with its host of museums, monuments, incredible architecture and statues. As you navigate this amazing Tuscan city, you will come across legendary pieces of Renaissance art followed by stunningly beautiful statues, created by the likes of Caravaggio, Botticelli and other famous artists. Some might even say that this amount of beauty could be overwhelming.

Well for some, it does become too much. When you find yourself staring up at the statue of David, your emotions may go into overdrive. You may experience dizziness, panic or even madness, and thus succumb to the ‘Stendhal Syndrome’: the ‘tourist disease’ that results from looking at too much of this breathtaking (quite literally!) art and sculpture.

This illness is named after the French novelist and writer, Marie-Henri Beyle (also known as Stendhal) who, during the 19th century, experienced a mild attack of madness after having viewed the many treasures that Florence has to offer. There have been many cases since then, where tourists temporarily suffer from this disorientation. The famous Italian director Dario Argento even made a film about it in 1996, where his protagonist succumbs to the syndrome whilst chasing a criminal through the Uffizi gallery. Here’s the trailer:

However, unless you are of an incredibly sensitive nature and become emotional very easily, the only side effect that you may experience after looking at ‘too much’ art, is that you get a bit tired and need a good coffee to refuel. The chances are you will marvel at beautiful Florence and all its masterpieces, take a quick break and then resume your tour. To name a syndrome after such an amazing city seems somewhat unfair. After all, its not Florence’s fault that it’s so beautiful and so historically and culturally significant.

So why not give it a go? Caf Tour & Travel have several Florence tours available, just visit this page to book yours now! Take a chance and see if you can enjoy this magnificent city without experiencing a bout of dizziness!

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