Rome Bars McDonald’s From Opening Near Ancient Site

Mayor Virginia Raggi backed the decision by Italy’s culture ministry to keep the American fast-food chain from starting construction near the Baths of Caracalla.

Rome Bars McDonald’s From Opening Near Ancient Site

There are currently more than 40 McDonald’s in the Italian capital.

Photo by Sorbis /

Rome is not lovin’ it. On Wednesday, July 31, Italy’s culture ministry barred the construction of a new 8,611-square-foot McDonald’s restaurant next to Rome’s ancient Baths of Caracalla in order to protect the archeological site, Reuters reports.

The decision was announced on Facebook by Alberto Bonisoli, Italy’s culture minister, after listening to protests from the municipal administration against the burger restaurant opening near the 3rd century C.E. public bathhouse, which has appeared in beloved Italian films like Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and more recently in Italian director Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty.

Rome’s opera uses the Baths of Caracalla as an outdoor theater location in the summer.

Rome’s opera uses the Baths of Caracalla as an outdoor theater location in the summer.

Photo by Shutterstock

Rome has more than 40 McDonald’s already, including ones near historic sites like the Piazza Navona, the Vatican, and the Spanish Steps. But the proposed restaurant would have been the first to open in the ancient quarter where the city was founded near sites like the Colosseum, Circus Maximus, and the Roman Forum. “We go forward with the culture minister to stop fast food construction in the archaeological area of the Baths of Caracalla,” Rome’s Mayor Virginia Raggi wrote on Twitter after Bonisoli’s announcement. “The wonders of Rome must be protected.”

Avanti con @_MiBAC per stop costruzione fast food nell’area archeologica delle Terme di Caracalla. Le meraviglie di Roma vanno tutelate. — Virginia Raggi (@virginiaraggi) July 31, 2019

Earlier in 2019, Raggi also officially banned eating, drinking, and climbing on Rome’s monuments, as well as walking around partially unclothed and wading in the city’s fountains, in an effort to curb bad behavior by locals and tourists. Those who are caught breaking these rules can be exiled from the city’s historic center for 48 hours.

This isn’t the first time Rome has shown its scorn for the American fast-food chain. In 1986, people in Rome spoke out against the opening of the city’s first McDonald’s that eventually opened near the Piazza di Spagna at the foot of the Spanish Steps.

>> Next: Plan Your Trip With AFAR’s Guide to Rome

Lyndsey Matthews is the senior commerce editor at AFAR who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
From Our Partners
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
More From AFAR