Italy Blocks McDonald’s From Opening Next to the 1,800-Year-Old Baths of Caracalla
Rome already has over 40 Mickey D’s.
Thanks to the city’s illustrious history, in certain parts of Rome, you can’t toss a rock without hitting something of cultural importance. True story: The first time I ever stayed in Rome, I went out to get a Diet Coke from the nearest convenience store and walked past the Trevi Fountain. It’s just that kind of place. But apparently, officials will draw the line somewhere when it comes to the intermingling of past and present. Yesterday, the country barred a McDonald’s from opening next to the Baths of Caracalla.
Italy’s Cultural Minister Alberto Bonisoli turned to Facebook to say he was heeding local officials’ calls to keep the ubiquitous burger joint from opening next to the ruins of the baths which date back to the early third century, according to CNN. "Already expressed my opposition to a fast food in the archaeological area of Caracalla Terme," Bonisoli reportedly posted. "I inform you that the cultural ministry revoked authorization."
Roman Mayor Virginia Raggi turned to Twitter to applaud the decision. "We go forward with the culture minister to stop fast food construction in the archaeological area of the Baths of Caracalla," she wrote. "The wonders of Rome must be protected."
McDonald’s might have actually dodged a bullet in this case. As Reuters points out, the proposed McDonald’s would have covered over 8,600-square-feet in an area where buildings are required to meet strict rules to fit the historical tradition of their surroundings.
Alas, the world’s largest burger chain will have to make do with selling Big Macs at the apparently more than 40 current McDonald’s located in Rome. According to Google Maps, that includes a McDonald’s that is a mere 1.3 miles away from the Baths. Or if you’re heading the other direction, 1.6 miles away. Sadly, neither walk takes you past the Trevi Fountain. But if you are at the fountain, you’re only a third of a mile from a McDonald’s!