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Tuscany

Health & safety

While you're there

Florence for children

Several locally published books and games help children discover Florence – the bookshop in Palazzo Vecchio has a tip-top selection. Nancy Shroyer Howard’s activity-driven book Fun in Florence kits out kids aged six to 10 years with pencils and do-and-find sections for major sites. Ellen and Marvin Mouchawar’s Treasure Hunt Florence sends the same age group chasing around the city looking for items or opportunities to carry out simple tasks. For older children try Florence, Just Add Water by Simone Frasca and Florence: Playing with Art by Maria Salvia Baldini.

La Bottega dei Ragazzi (055 247 83 86; www.istitutodeglinnocenti.it; Via dei Fibbiai 2; 1/3 workshops €10/20; 9am-1pm & 3-7pm Mon-Sat) , an inspirational ‘play and learn with art’ space next to the Spedale degli Innocenti, runs workshops for children aged three to five years and six to 11 years. Parents and kids can pop in anytime to play with its many toys, books and games.

At the Palazzo Vecchio, younger children aged three to seven years can watch a shadow theatre about a theft from Francesco’s studio then visit the latter. Those aged eight years or older can learn about Michelangelo though a theatre sketch, meet Cosimo I and Eleonora de Toledo (actors dressed up) or take a tour of the place with Vasari.

The best playgrounds for children under six are in Oltrarno: the riverside space along Lungarno di Santa Rosa (cross the river using Ponte Amerigo Vespucci and turn right) and on Piazza Torquato Tasso.

Otherwise there’s Mondobimbo (055 553 29 46; Via Ponte Rosso; admission €5; 10am-midnight May-Sep, 10am-7pm Oct-Apr) , an airless soft-play area in a tent with bouncy castles, ball pools etc for kids aged two to 10.

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Emergency

Police station (Questura; 055 4 97 71; Via Zara 2; 24hr) Report thefts at the foreigners office here.

Tourist Police (Polizia Assistenza Turistica; 055 20 39 11; Via Pietrapiana 50r, Piazza dei Ciompi; 8.30am-6.30pm Mon-Fri, 8.30am-1pm Sat)

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Medical services

24-Hour Pharmacy (055 21 67 61; Stazione di Santa Maria Novella) Inside the main train station.

Dr Stephen Kerr (055 28 80 55; www.dr-kerr.com; Piazza Mercato Nuovo 1 (4th Floor); by appointment or open clinic 3-5pm Mon-Fri) Resident British doctor.

Tourist Medical Service (055 47 54 11; Via Lorenzo il Magnifico 59; open clinic 11am-noon & 5-6pm Mon-Sat) English-speaking doctors on call 24hr.

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