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Yeah, 8 and a half is pretty surrealistic and abstract, yet I instantly became a Fellini fan after watching it last year, and unconsciously became very influenced by him with my own student works. Haven't seen that many of his works though, aside from that, I've seen La Strada, which was made before 8 1/2, and seemed more minimalistic and simple compared to the flamboyant, carnivalesque style he employed later in his career. Film has a more conventional plot, but it's pretty heartbreaking.
The other one I watched was one of his later works in the 80s, E la nave va (And the ship sails on), which is pretty surreal and absurdist, makes even less sense than 8 1/2, and is the type of film that divide audiences. I loved it though.