Business Hours -- Hours mainly follow the Italian norm. In Florence, however, many of the larger and more central shops stay open through the midday riposo or nap (note the sign orario nonstop).
Doctors -- A walk-in Tourist Medical Service is at Via Roma 4 (www.medicalservice.firenze.it; (tel) 055-475-411), open Monday to Friday 11am to noon, 1 to 3pm, and 5 to 6pm; Saturday 11am to noon and 1 to 3pm only. English-speaking Dr. Stephen Kerr runs a surgery at Piazza Mercato Nuovo 1 (www.dr-kerr.com; (tel) 335-836-1682 or 055-288-055), with office hours Monday through Friday from 3 to 5pm without an appointment (appointments are available 9am–3pm). The consultation fee is 50€ to 60€; it’s slightly cheaper if you show a student ID card.
Hospitals -- The most central hospital is Santa Maria Nuova, a block northeast of the Duomo on Piazza Santa Maria Nuova ((tel) 055-69-381), with an emergency room (pronto soccorso) open 24 hours. There is a comprehensive guide to medical services, including specialist care, on the official Florence city website: See www.firenzeturismo.it/en/other-useful-information/health-services-in-florence-and-surroundings.html.
Internet Access -- Every hotel we recommend offers wireless Internet, usually for free but occasionally for a small fee. Otherwise, head to the chain Internet Train (www.internettrain.it; (tel) 055-747-6540), with six locations in Florence, including Via dell'Oriuolo 40R, a few blocks from the Duomo; Via Guelfa 54R, near the train station; and Borgo San Jacopo 30R, in the Oltrarno. Printing, scanning, and other services (bike rental, international shipping, etc.) are offered at some offices. Open hours vary, but usually run daily 9am to 8:30pm, often later. Alternatively, if you have your own laptop or smartphone, several bars and cafes now offer free Wi-Fi to anyone buying a drink or snack. There is also free city Wi-Fi with the Firenze Card.
Mail & Postage -- Florence's main post office ((tel) 055-273-6481), at Via Pellicceria 3, off the southwest corner of Piazza della Repubblica, is open Monday through Friday from 8:20am to 7:05pm, Saturday 8:20am to 12:35pm.
Newspapers & Magazines -- Florence’s national daily paper, “La Nazione,” is on sale everywhere. “The Florentine” (www.theflorentine.net) is the city’s biweekly English-language publication, widely available at bars, cafes, and hotels. Overseas English-language newspapers are also available: The newsstands at the station are a safe bet, as is the booth under the arcade on the western side of Piazza della Repubblica, where you will find the “Financial Times,” “Wall Street Journal,” and London “Guardian,” alongside the usual “International New York Times.”
Pharmacies -- There is a 24-hour pharmacy (also open Sun and state holidays) in Stazione Santa Maria Novella ((tel) 055-216-761; ring the bell btw. 1 and 4am). On holidays and at night, look for the sign in any pharmacy window telling you which ones are open locally.
Police -- To report lost property or passport problems, call the questura (police headquarters) at (tel) 055-49-771. Note: It is illegal to knowingly buy fake goods anywhere in the city (and yes, a “Louis Vuitton” bag at 10€ counts as knowingly). You may be served a hefty on-the-spot fine if caught.
Safety -- As in any city, plenty of pickpockets are out to ruin your vacation, and in Florence you’ll find light-fingered youngsters (especially around the train station), but otherwise you're safe. Do steer clear of the Cascine Park after dark, when it becomes somewhat seedy and you run the risk of being mugged; likewise the area around Piazza Santo Spirito and in the backstreets behind Santa Croce after all the buzzing nightlife has gone off to bed. And you probably won't want to hang out with the late-night heroin addicts shooting up on the Arno mud flats below the Lungarno embankments on the edges of town. See chapter 10 for more safety tips.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.