McDonald’s Opens Next to the Vatican, and Not Everyone Is Happy
This piece originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.
A McDonald's franchise opened outside the walls of the Vatican in Rome last week, despite pleas from religious leaders and locals alike.
First announced in October, the fast-food restaurant drew criticism from those who said it was an affront to local culture.
Cardinal Elio Sgreccia spoke out against the McDonald’s when it was first announced, telling La Repubblica that it was “not at all respectful of the architectural and urban traditions of one of the most characteristic squares overlooking the colonnade of St. Peter.”
Manuel Tosti, a restaurateur who helps run his family’s business across the street from the McDonald’s, said the addition of the restaurant has already hurt his own operation.
“McDonald’s is producing a lot of problems,” Tosti told CBS News. “It’s a multinational that has the same food everywhere – whereas we do pasta – that’s famous around the world and typical Roman dishes.”
Despite the backlash, it was a Vatican agency that leased the space to McDonald’s, charging a reported 30,000 euros a month, or approximately $31,375.50.
It’s not the first time that Italians have been ruffled by the arrival of a U.S. franchise. Coffee chain Starbucks announced its plans to open cafés in Italy in 2016, irking some coffee purists.