—Phil Kukielski, "In Umbria, pottery becomes high art," The Tallahassee Democrat, September 1, 2002
The city drove Mary mad.
But the 34-year-old teacher, on her first tour of Europe, was not an isolated case.
Crowded Florence, cradle of the Renaissance, a city where palaces and monuments submerge the visitor, where each stone has a story, each corner a legend, is literally driving some tourists out of their mind.
A team of Italian medical researchers has labeled the temporary amnesia and disorientation of these patients "The Stendhal Syndrome" after the French novelist and writer whose real name was Marie Henri Beyle (1783-1842). For decades, the malaise was known as the "tourist disease." Stendhal, visiting Florence for the first time in 1817, suffered a mild attack of the madness.
—James O'Reilly, "Beautiful and unspoiled indonesia can turn into a trial for travelers," Chicago Tribune, September 7, 1986
160 years later, in the late 1970s, Dr. Graziella Magherini, at the time the chief of psychiatry at Florence's Santa Maria Nuova Hospital, noticed that many of the tourists who visited Florence were overcome with anything from temporary panic attacks to bouts of outright madness that lasted several days. She remembered that Stendhal had had similar symptoms, so she named the condition Stendhal's syndrome. (When she first applied this name isn't clear, but it may have been as early as 1979.)
Note, too, that a similar affliction is the Jerusalem syndrome (1987), which hits tourists who visit the holy city of Jerusalem and are overcome by the mental weight of its history and significance.
economy class syndrome