So you’re going on vacation to Italy and you plan to visit some museums and art galleries while you’re there. One thing you can be sure of is that Italy has no shortage of those. But what you may not know is that exposure to too much culture might not be good for you. Stendhal’s syndrome, also known as Florence syndrome, is a disorder caused by culture fatigue. It can involve dizziness, panic attacks, fainting and possibly even hallucinations. The syndrome has been observed in many visitors to Florence and Rome.

While Stendhal’s syndrome is rare, becoming overwhelmed and consequently fatigued with the beauty and culture of cities such as Florence and Venice is a risk for any tourist or traveler. How do you take in all the art and culture you want to take in while avoiding culture fatigue? There are a few things you can do to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed.

  1. Be sure to pace yourself. You can’t see everything in Florence in a day, so don’t try. Pick two or three things you’d most like to do in a day and stick with them. Maybe you want to visit the Uffizi Gallery? Or climb to the top of the Duomo? Or visit Donatello’s David? Each one of these visits can be overwhelming in itself, so give yourself plenty of time to appreciate what you see. Rushing things will result in a much greater risk of culture fatigue.
  1. Remember, travelling isn’t just about seeing things and checking them off your list. That approach is a sure way to risk suffering from culture fatigue. It’s also about soaking up the atmosphere of a place and getting to know the feel of a new town or city. Give yourself time to sit in a café and enjoy the sights and sounds of the place you’re visiting. Try going off the beaten track. The cafés and restaurants in the “touristy” areas of a city are bound to be busy, overpriced and, well, full of other tourists. As well as that, the general rule is that the more “touristy” the restaurant, the blander and less freshly prepared the food. Avoid culture fatigue and enjoy delicious, freshly cooked food at reasonable prices by taking a few minutes’ stroll off the main streets and squares and into the city’s charming back streets.
  1. Keep a bottle of water with you during the day if you can. Even in the spring, the Italian sun can be quite strong and you might find yourself dehydrated and more likely to become tired, which is a significant factor in culture fatigue. Stay comfortably hydrated to help avoid sunstroke and exhaustion.
  1. And lastly, get enough sleep. It may seem like an obvious tip, but often vacations can be hectic, with late nights, early mornings and very busy days. If you’re tired, you run a significantly greater risk of culture fatigue. Make sure you’re well prepared for a day of soaking up the culture of a city with a good night’s sleep.

With these four simple tips, you should be able to make the most of your vacation in Italy and avoid culture fatigue. Buon viaggio!