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Florence

Health & safety

Dangers & annoyances

Tourists who want to report thefts or obtain a residence permit will need to visit the main police station (055 4 97 71; Via Zara 2). The rather self-important building is a late-18th-century curio, originally built as a hospital. The police station(055 20 39 11; Via Pietrapiana 50/r; 8.30am-7.30pm Mon-Fri, 8.30am-1.30pm Sat) off Piazza dei Ciompi is especially used to dealing with tourists and their problems (petty theft etc).

Ambulance (ambulanza 118)

Fire Brigade (vigili del fuoco 115)

Highway Rescue (soccorso stradale 116)

Military Police (carabinieri 112)

Police (polizia 113)

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All in all Florence is a fairly secure city, but you need to keep an eye out for pick-pockets and bag-snatchers in the most heavily touristed parts of town, especially around the Duomo and the train station.

Prevention is better than cure. Only walk around with the amount of cash you intend to spend that day or evening. Hidden moneybelts or pouches are a good idea.

Never leave anything visible in your car and preferably leave nothing at all. Foreign and hire cars are especially vulnerable.

If anything does get lost or stolen, report it to the police and get a written statement from them if you intend to claim on insurance.

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While you're there

Medical services

EU citizens (and those of Switzerland, Norway and Iceland) are entitled to the same free health services in public hospitals as Italians, but will need to present a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC; formerly the E111).

Australia has a reciprocal arrangement with Italy that entitles Australian citizens to free public health care – carry your Medicare card.

Citizens of New Zealand, the USA, Canada and other countries have to pay for all services. Most travel insurance policies include medical cover. In an emergency, head for the pronto soccorso unit of any hospital.

For minor health problems you can try your local pharmacy (farmacia), where pharmaceuticals tend to be sold more freely without prescription than in places such as the USA, Australia or the UK.

If your country has a consulate in Florence, staff there should be able to refer you to a doctor who speaks your language. The APT has lists of doctors and dentists of various nationalities. If you have a specific health complaint, obtain the necessary information and referrals for treatment before leaving home.

The following medical services may be of use to travellers:

Centro MTS (Malattie a Trasmissione Sessuale; Map p000; 055 275 86 28; Piazza Brunelleschi 4 or Via della Pergola 64; 8am-noon Mon-Fri) Anonymous walk-in service for AIDS tests at the rear end of the Ospedale di Santa Maria Nuova.

Guardia Medica (055 233 94 56 for central Florence; 8pm-8am Mon-Fri, 10am on Sat to 8am Mon) A night-time call-out service with doctors (locums).

Misericordia di Firenze (055 21 22 22; Vicolo degli Adimari 1; medical attention for tourists 2-6pm Mon-Fri) You will be charged for this service. It also runs ambulances from here as well as charitable operations for the town’s poorer folk.

Ospedali Riuniti di Careggi (055 427 71 11; Viale Morgagni 85) The city’s main hospital, but a long way from the centre.

Ospedale di Santa Maria Nuova(055 2 75 81; Piazza di Santa Maria Nuova 1) Just east of the Duomo. In an emergency go to the pronto soccorso.

Tourist Medical Service (055 47 54 11; Via Lorenzo Il Magnifico 59; 24hrs) No appointment is required. Doctors speak English, French and German.

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