• Posted:Monday, March 15, 2010
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Watch out for Stendhal syndrome in Florence

Posted in: Travel
Watch out for Stendhal syndrome in Florence
If you consider yourself to be naturally sensitive, then be prepared when booking hostels in Florence, as it's possible that you could find yourself suffering from a bout of Stendhal syndrome, stimulated by the vast numbers of museums, galleries, works of art and architectural sights that you're faced with upon your arrival.

According to the Guardian, this affliction - which I've never heard of before, although this could be because I'm rock hard - is named after French writer Stendhal who, when visiting the city in 1817, came over all dizzy and sick because of all the art he took in during his sojourn.

Scoff at the thought you might but the paper noted that there have been many similar instances, with people "fainting in the face of Florence's glories".

"Add in queuing for hours to get into museums such as the Uffizi and the Accademia, jostling for space once in and then peering over heads to catch a glimpse of Botticelli's Birth of Venus or Michelangelo's David and a visit to Florence starts to look a little dangerous for the health," the publication went on to say.

However, it does have a solution in mind and it involves heading off the beaten track to places like the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, which has lots of original works such as Michelangelo's Pieta, or the wooden sculpture of Mary Magdalene by Donatello. This, the Guardian states, is "an intense figure, almost frightening".

But - if you absolutely have to take your life in your hands and see some of the tourist traps like the Uffizi - make sure you listen to Tribune Media Services' Rick Steves, who said queue jumping is possible by booking reservations either online or over the phone.

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