Hit Sienna (Siena?) for a couple days. short drive
Be careful at the Uffizi lest you become overwhelmed. But being an experienced diver familiar with an abundance of beauty, you may have a degree of protection.
"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 toart, 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.
The illness is named after the famous 19th century French author Stendhal(pseudonym of Henri-Marie Beyle), who described his experience with the phenomenon during his 1817 visit to Florence, Italy in his book Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio.
Although there are many descriptions of people becoming dizzy and fainting while taking in Florentine art, especially at the Uffizi, dating from the early 19th century on, the syndrome was only named in 1979, when it was described by Italian psychiatrist Graziella Magherini, who observed and described more than 100 similar cases among tourists and visitors in Florence."
Is there also a gelato'itis?
Yes; and if unchecked it can lead to "gelato supersaturation," which frequently leads to a dream-like, euphoric state in the patient, not unlike Stendahl Syndrome
Originally Posted by TheHawk2002
Yes, I've been fortunate enough to visit Florence a couple of times.
Uffizzi - like everyone says, must book ahead. Crazy busy. I was a bit underwhelmed (not by the innumerable paintings, but by the very repetitive subject matter expressed in the paintings) - but the Birth of Venus is breathtaking and imo, the main reason to visit.
Pitti Palace (across the river, easy walk from the core of Florence) - totally worth the visit. Minimal line ups when we went. Make sure to also tour the adjacent beautiful Boboli Gardens. Nice view from on high. Lovely sculptures, plantings, arbor...
David - there are 3 of them in Florence - make it a challenge to see all three. My favorite is the (now verdigris) bronze, in the Piazza Michaelangelo, up on the hill, across the river from the core of Florence. Fabulous view from up there. Restaurant and refreshments also available there.
Duomo - worth the climb. Another great viewpoint. Get there early to avoid the madness.
The back streets of San Lorenzo - this is where I have shopped when I've been in Florence. Large open air market, great prices on leather goods, scarves, belts, etc. If you buy in some quantity you can negotiate prices with some of the vendors. There is also a huge, closed in food market in this area - wonderful. Also of note is a large, triangular shaped square, with some restaurants facing on to it (very near the back of the market building), a couple of blocks from San Lorenzo cathedral. Great place to eat and people watch, and not as stupid expensive as eating in any of the main touristy squares.
Walk over the Ponte Vecchio, and down the other side of the river a ways. Lovely stroll.
I really liked the Bargello Museum - quite near the Uffizi - much smaller and more approachable.
Like everyone said, gelato. Best in Italy. Also fabulous cappuccinos. Paninis are great too. Yum!
Hope this helps.
Edited to add: if you've got the time, Siena for a couple of days, as Rev suggested, is a great side trip and quite a different experience from Florence. Recommend staying inside the old city walls. The Duomo there is a crazy extravaganza. The whole town, built on a steep hill, is really cool. I believe it is quite easy to get there by train from Florence. We hired a driver which was a great way to go door to door.
Last edited by JudyG; 01-06-2014 at 05:31 PM.
it's a short train trip to Pisa. if the time allows & you feel adventuresome, take a day trip to Pisa to see the Cathedral Square w/ the leaning tower, the Cathedral & the Baptistry
great day trip from Florence.
This was a dive shop I really, really wanted to try, esp. the underwater Archaeology Park of Baia:
Someday I'm gonna go there!
You can pick up a lot of info (also from locals) from the Graffiti Wall section of the Rick Steve's website