Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Thu November 19 2015

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  • A Cruising Couple | November 19, 2015 9:00 PM ET

    Three Odd Things You Didn’t Know About Florence, Italy

    Three Odd Things You Didn’t Know About Florence, Italy

    Tourists flock to the renowned Renaissance city of Florence to behold impressive artistic feats and eat incredible food. But even with as many as 16 million tourists landing in Florence each year, the magical city has managed to hold on to a few unique oddities. Though not necessarily tourist attractions, here are a handful of surprising facts to know before your next visit to Florence, Italy:


    1. The City is So Beautiful It Can Make You Sick

    A psychosomatic disorder that causes individuals to experience increased heart rate, difficulty walking, dizziness, and fainting when viewing immensely beautiful natural sights or works of art. It sounds like a myth, but it is actually a real condition that plagues many art aficionados making their way through Florence for the first time!


    Originally recorded in 1817 in his book Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio, Stendhal was one of the first to detail the way he felt while visiting Florence, Italy. Apparently, Stendhal was so taken by the magnificence of the city that he had trouble walking, and was struck with intense feelings of dizziness and fatigue.

    Although hotly debated by scientists, according to this article on the Telegraph, "Staff at Florence's Santa Maria Nuova hospital are accustomed to dealing with tourists suffering from dizzy spells and disorientation after admiring the statue of David, the masterpieces of the Uffizi Gallery and other treasures of the Tuscan city."

    Whether or not the Stendhal Syndrome is an actual disorder, one thing is for sure: some of the finest pieces of art throughout the world are located in Florence. It’s not unwarranted to feel a bit overwhelmed by it all. And if you do, the local doctor will know exactly how to treat you.

    2. The Best Deal in Town is Tucked Away in a Little-Known Ticket Booth

    Although the Stendhal Syndrome might be news to you, the prodigious art of Florence is not a surprise to most. In fact, the majority of tourists visiting Florence come specifically for its art museums. Just waiting in line to popular museums like Uffizi and Accademia can literally take up half of your day—that is if there are even any available tickets during your stay.

    The key: book tickets in advance. There may be a bit of an upcharge, but it's absolutely worth it for the time you'll free up to explore more corners of Florence.


    If for one reason or another you didn't book your tickets in advance, and you're in a pinch, there is a little ticket booth that might come to the rescue.

    This article on Italy Logue describes this little-known hole in the wall (it's literally just a guy behind a computer in an opening slightly smaller than a doorway.) The man sells tickets from tourists who have canceled their reservations to others who need tickets in a pinch.

    Though the practice might sound a little shady, it's apparently professional and completely legitimate. There are no guarantees that the little-known ticket booth will have tickets, but it's a great option in a pinch. The ticket booth is just south from the Duomo on Via Dei Calzaiuoli on the right side behind the Orsanmichele church.

    3. The Street Signs Are Being Slowly Turned Into Works of Art

    Florence 2015

    Photo by Denis Bocquet via Flickr

    Clet Abraham, a French artist now living in Florence, was frustrated with the way street signs interrupted the beauty of Renaissance Italy. He decided to turn the street signs into works of art as a way of creating dialogue and speaking out. Although Florence was the inspiration behind this creative mastermind's work, you can find his refurbished street signs all over Europe.

    He uses vinyl stickers so as to not destroy the street signs, and his creations are quite witty. Although he usually works at night, many officials applaud the beauty of his creations and overlook the potential legal implications. In fact, according to this article, the mayor of Paris's 13th arrondissement loved Abraham's work so much that he's actually collaborated with him.

    See more of his work or discover it in Florence to decide for yourself if this street sign improvement is vandalism or art.

    These are just three unique oddities to know before your visit to this Tuscan gem. Do you know any other off-the-beaten-track facts about Florence? 

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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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