WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- On Wednesday, the Culture Ministry of Italy prohibited the construction of a McDonald’s fast-food restaurant next to the ancient Baths of Caracalla in Rome.
- Mayor Virginia Raggi said, “the wonders of Rome must be protected.”
- McDonald’s has over 40 outlets in Rome, with some in the vicinity of landmarks such as the Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagna and the Vatican, but not in the midst of its respected ancient landmarks.
On Wednesday, the Culture Ministry of Italy prohibited the construction of a McDonald’s fast-food restaurant next to the ancient Baths of Caracalla in Rome. Mayor Virginia Raggi said, “the wonders of Rome must be protected.”
Italy’s Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli made the announcement in a Facebook post after the municipal administration strongly protested against the idea of serving burgers in the archaeological zone that hosts the 3rd century A.D. baths.
“We go forward with the culture minister to stop fast food construction in the archaeological area of the Baths of Caracalla. The wonders of Rome must be protected,” Raggi tweeted after Bonisoli’s announced his decision.
McDonald’s did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.
The international fast-food chain has over 40 outlets in Rome, some of them in the vicinity of landmarks such as the Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps) and the Vatican, but not in the midst of its respected ancient region.
Intellectuals and TV personalities fought and protested against the opening of the first McDonald’s in the Piazza di Spagna in 1986. They said it is an offense to Italy’s traditional food culture.
In the case of the McDonald’s outlet to be constructed next to Baths of Caracalla, Italian media said the fast-food chain was expected to cover 800 square meters (8,611 square feet) in an area where new construction must meet strict criteria to reflect historical tradition.
The former garden center that would have hosted the new McDonald’s is located between the baths and the ancient Aurelian walls, a few hundred meters (yards) away from the Coliseum and the Circus Maximus, according to Reuters.
Last year, Italy had the fourth-highest number of McDonald’s restaurants in the European Union with 578, behind only Germany, France and Britain, according to website statista.com.