The efficacy of breast cancer screening for women older than 50 years has been shown in several studies. Service screening is now ongoing or planned in several countries in Europe. MISCAN, a computer simulation programme, has been used to analyse data from the Florence District Programme (FDP) breast cancer experience. First, the model was fitted to the screening results for the period 1975-1986. A good correspondence between the model outcomes and the FDP results was achieved. It was then used to predict the impact on mortality of the new starting programme of the city of Florence (63,000 women, 50-69 years old). Assuming a 70% attendance rate, then for the city of Florence, 2563 screen-detected breast cancers are predicted for the period 1991-2020 out of the total number of 9095 breast cancers for all ages (28%). A total of 3720 deaths for breast cancer are expected without screening. An absolute reduction of 472 deaths (13%) is predicted for the whole population. The estimated number of years of life gained by screening until 2020 is 4354. Simulation by MISCAN has previously been a useful support tool for decision-making about screening. The present paper is the first based on a southern European experience. The possibility of applying MISCAN to predict the impact of a national programme in Italy is discussed.