Italian officials ban McDonald's near ancient Roman monument

Italian officials have barred McDonald's from building a restaurant near an ancient site in Rome, with some believing it would be disrespectful to serve burgers so close to archaeological wonders.

The Ministry for Cultural Heritage on Wednesday announced the decision to prohibit the fast-food giant from opening a location near the Baths of Caracalla, which dates back to the third century.

Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli posted the news to Facebook.


"Already expressed my opposition to a fast food in the archaeological area of Caracalla Terme," he wrote. "I inform you that the cultural ministry revoked authorization."

Virginia Raggi, the mayor of Rome, tweeted that "the wonders of Rome must be protected."

The chain had hoped to build an 8,600-square-foot restaurant and obtained a permit to do so. The area where the restaurant would have been built is near the baths, the Colosseum and other sites of historic significance.

In a statement to Fox News, McDonald's said it's aim is to "respectfully adapt to the local environment" when operating restaurants near historic sites in Italy and around the world.


"As always, and in this case, McDonald’s met all national and local laws and policies related to business operations in this location.  This project, including a McDonald’s, near the Baths of Caracalla is part of a wider plan of urban regeneration, including playgrounds and educational botanical gardens, to offer tourists and local families a place to enjoy quality food and services," the statement continued.

McDonald's operates 51 locations in the Italian capital, some near landmarks including the Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagna -- the Spanish Steps -- and the Vatican, Reuters reported.

Italy has 600 McDonald's restaurants, the company said.