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Seeing Too Much Art In Italy Can Give You Stendhal Syndrome

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piero-francesca-urbinoSixty percent of the world’s art treasures can be found in Italy. That’s a staggering amount of painting, frescoes, sculptures and artifacts. Its no wonder that when visiting Italy, travelers want to try to see it all, even though that is impossible. Plus there’s the risk of Stendhal syndrome. What is that you ask?

According to Wikipedia, “Stendhal syndrome, Stendhal’s syndrome, hyperkulturemia, or Florence syndrome is a psychosomatic disorder 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 syndrome was named for 19th-century French artist Stendhal who was overcome with symptoms while viewing art in Florence in 1817. Similar incidents throughout the years were reported at Florence’s Uffizi Museum. Italian psychiatrist Graziella Magherini documented more than 100 cases of Stendhal syndrome and officially named it in 1979.

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About Kathy McCabe

Kathy is the founder of the award-winning subscription travel newsletter Dream of Italy, and a noted Italy travel expert. Kathy’s travel advice has been quoted in USA TODAY, BusinessWeek, U.S. News + World Report and on ABC News, among others. Follow Kathy and Dream of Italy on Facebook and Twitter.