“Top of the Duomo” – Erica Kuestersteffen

A KU student, Erica Kuestersteffen, went on the CIMBA Italy program this past spring semester and has shared one of her blogs with us! Enjoy!


A quick weekend trip in some place as beautiful and huge as Florence can be difficult, so let’s just go one by one.


The very first stop Saturday morning was to La Galleria dell’Accademia. The Gallery was absolutely filled with beautiful paintings and sculptures. Although it got tiring to see all the saints, Mary, and Jesus it was amazing to see the skill and talent that went into every piece. It seems crazy to me that someone can use paint and a canvas to create something so real. The music room in the Gallery was also amazing to see. In Middle School and High School band had been a huge thing so it was awesome to see those older instruments. The most important sight to see, David, was breathtaking. Everyone talks about how huge it is but until I actually saw it I didn’t understand just how big it was. It was amazing, and blew my mind. It’s crazy to me that something that huge and beautiful can be created by human hands, and still be around hundreds of years later for our viewing.

The most impressive building I have ever seen has to be the Duomo. It was amazing, and knowing that it was built before cranes and the machinery we have today makes it insane. While I was there I climbed all the way to the top of the bell tower and the dome of the Basilica di Santa Maria. The view of Florence from the top was amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s how I imagine being on top of the world would feel.

Last but not least a must see is the Uffizi museum. At times it seemed like it was going to go on forever but the artwork was absolutely beautiful. The Birth of Venus and La Primavera (The Spring) were on display there, and those are two of my favorite paintings of all time. Being able to see them wasn’t something I ever thought I’d be able to do and it was just incredible to get that chance. It’s definitely something everyone should do.


Trattoria “da Giorgio” is the place that comes to my mind when I think about the food I ate in Florence. It was this little restaurant that served a three course meal at a fixed price (13 euro) and was delicious. The street it was on was a little sketchy and dark but the food was so worth it. The courses were what I have come to expect from Italy but much better than I’ve had here at school.

One little piece of home that Florence gave me was the ability to eat at a McDonald’s. It seemed silly to be in Italy and eat something I can find in the states, but there was something great about being able to bite into a piece of home.


The leather market that was open on Saturday might have made my day. One piece of clothing I have always wanted but never been able to find in good shape was a leather jacket, and I did not come home without one. The leather market was amazing, it had everything from shoes to wallets to non-leather items such as scarves and cloth clothing. For a student on a budget it was a very difficult place to be, and although I did not plan to buy a leather jacket this weekend I was quite happy with the deal that was made. It was a little bit like a walk through heaven for someone who enjoys leather and shopping in Italian markets. Many of the other shops near the city center were also having huge sales. Although I did not spend a lot more money after my jacket it was a lot of fun to see the sales and experience shopping in a place like Florence. That city is definitely more of a fashion center than where I come from.

The city of Florence is amazing and one of a kind. Before this trip it didn’t feel real that I was in another country but there is no denying it now. This weekend I saw buildings and artwork that are older than the US! That’s not something I was ever able to say before this trip. I can’t wait for more.