McDonald’s challenges ban on opening drive-thru near ancient Rome archaeological site

McDonald’s is appealing a ban on building a drive-thru next to one of Rome’s ancient attractions.

The Italian capital has rejected initial plans to put a branch of the fast food franchise alongside the Baths of Caracalla.

Dating from the 3rd century, the archaeological site has walls 36 m high and a maze of underground tunnels where the ovens heated the water.

Work on converting a nearby garden center into a McDonald’s restaurant began in 2019, but was stopped by Italian authorities after a backlash from the public and the media.

The mayor of Rome at the time, Virginia Raggi, favored the ban, saying the “wonders of Rome must be protected”.

The global brand appealed the decision to a lower administrative court but was dismissed.

He has now stepped up the appeal to the Council of State, where the case will be heard on December 21, reports The Republic.

McDonald’s said in a statement: “Whenever McDonald’s operates near historic sites in Italy or around the world, our goal is to respectfully adapt to the local environment.

“As always, and in this case, McDonald’s has followed all national and local laws and policies relating to business operations in this location.

“This project, near the thermal baths of Caracalla, is part of a larger plan of urban regeneration, including playgrounds and educational botanical gardens, to offer tourists and local families a place to enjoy food. and quality services.

The hamburger giant has an earlier form when it comes to controversial Roman openings.

He opened a franchise just steps from the sparkling white marble dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in late 2016, in a move that angered local restaurateurs and cardinals.

One of his most vocal critics, Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, said The Republic newspaper of the time: “Borgo Pio’s mega sandwich shop is a shame.

“It would be better to use these spaces to help the needy in the region, spaces of welcome, shelter and help for those who are suffering, as the Holy Father teaches.”

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