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I'll be landing in Milan Malpensa Airport on May 17th 12:15 pm. I need to get to Florence after that and I am planning to do that by train. When I look on trenitalia.com, I can see the train schedules, but it doesn't allow me to book anything. Does one need to be logged in to purchase tickets ? It seems that I can buy tickets on italiarail.com, but looks like all the super-cheap fares are gone by now, and I can only buy a 'Normal' fare, which is about 70$ per person one-way.

So, would it be okay if I waited and bought train tickets only after arriving at Malpensa airport, or is that likely to have problems ? I would prefer to wait and book in case our flight gets delayed, but I want to know if that is a bad idea for some reason like trains are likely to be full, or that I would likely have to buy a very expensive ticket, or something else.

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Your best bet is to take the Malpensa Express to either Milano Centrale or Milano Porta Garibaldi, and from there take a high speed train to Firenze. This can be either Trenitala's Freccia Rossa from Centrale, or Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori's Italo leaving from Porta Garibaldi. All the links provided allow you to book the tickets in advance. The reason you can't book everything via one website is because the train lines are operated by different companies: Malpensa is a Trenord station, whilst Milano Centrale and Porta Garibaldi are both FS (national railway company) stations.

All in all it's always good practice to book national trains (the various Frecce operated by Trenitalia or the various Italo routes) in advance. The reason being that on these a seat reservation is required for each passenger. More importantly, the last minute fares tend to be very steep. Regional trains on the other hand, be it Trenord, some other local company, or any FS interregional route, sometimes don't require a seat reservation. Hence tickets for the latter can be easily purchased on the day since you can travel without sitting down. When it comes to interregional trains however it is sometimes not possible to reserve tickets in advance (the Malpensa Express being a notable exception to this rule).

Since you are worried about missing train connections, note that advanced tickets for the Malpensa Express can be used up to 4 hours after the booked departure time. Trenitalia and Italo both offer exchangeable refundable ticket fares which are of course more expensive than their non-exchangeable counterpart. To avoid any bad surprises you can book the latest sensible train, say 5 hours after you land, and attempt to exchange the ticket at the station to board an earlier train, should your journey from the airport take less than expected.

  • Just one caveat, when I look on the Italo website, looks like all the trains leave from Milano Rog. or Milano P.Ga. , i.e. not from Milano Centrale. – sgauria Apr 16 '15 at 20:06
  • That's true. There were talks about NTV eventually beginning to operate from Centrale, but I guess it hasn't happened yet. Nothing to worry about: the MXP Express also runs to Milano Porta Garibaldi from which you can take an Italo to Firenze. See my updated answer. – JoErNanO Apr 16 '15 at 20:19
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    Just adding a bit more info : I finally booked trains from Milano Centrale since that had more options in case I wanted to try to change the train time. I also booked on trenitialia insted of Italo because the refund policy was more forgiving in case I end up missing the train and had to rebook or cancel. – sgauria May 13 '15 at 19:29

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