Italy’s culture ministry has barred the construction of a McDonald’s fast food restaurant next to the ancient Baths of Caracalla in Rome, with the mayor Virginia Raggi saying “the wonders of Rome must be protected”.
The Ministry for Cultural Heritage, announced on Wednesday that it had overruled the authorisation for the restaurant to be built between the third-century Baths of Caracalla and the city’s ancient Aurelian Walls.
McDonald’s had hoped to build an 800-square-metre branch on privately owned land currently occupied by a garden centre, and won a permit to do so from the district council of Rome’s Municipio I.
Yet the plans provoked a widespread outcry when they were revealed by the media, prompting city mayor Raggi to join calls to suspend the project. McDonald’s has more than 40 outlets in the Italian capital, some of them in landmarks such as the Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagna and the Vatican.
Italy last year had the fourth highest number of McDonald’s restaurants in the European Union with 578, behind only Germany, France and Britain.