We were in Florence for four nights and I was sick of it. I was walking on rich and long history surounded by large buildings that were thousands years old. Art was in every corner. Huge and beautiful sculptures, paintings, and buildings from Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Masaccio, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Raphael, and more. Taking in all that was around me was overwhelming and exhausting.
I had Stendhal’s syndrome.
Stendhal syndrome, Stendhal’s syndrome, hyperkulturemia, or Florence syndrome is a psychosomatic illness that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to art, usually when the art is particularly beautiful or a large amount of art is in a single place. The term can also be used to describe a similar reaction to a surfeit of choice in other circumstances, e.g. when confronted with immense beauty in the natural world.
It sounds silly to complain about having too much of a good thing but Stendhal’s syndrome was real for me and it made me cranky. Daily gelato’s kept me sane and meeting up with a few travel blogger friends helped a lot.
There was so much to see and do in Florence. Four nights was definitely not enough. We didn’t even have time to cross the river onto the other side which I heard had some great attractions.
The only way to really understand and grasp our surroundings was to take a walking tour. Walks of Italy provided us a walking tour of Florence and everything started to make so much more sense. I was able to put it all into context and understand what I was looking at. What better way to walk through the architecture of Florence than with an architecte that lives and works in Florence. He was a genius when it came to the history of Florence. We may have been comped for a review but I’m totally serious when I tell you this is the best 3 1/2hrs you’ll experience in Florence.
On one of the nights in Florence, we walked around with Beth and Randy. It was around midnight and were over the bridge. The city was totally deserted and seemed so different than it was mid-day packed with tourists. So here’s an extra tip: take a walk late at night when all the tourists are gone. Although we felt very safe, it’s probably a good idea to go with someone. It felt like we had the whole city to ourselves. Much more relaxing although obviously all the museums are closed.