ROME, July 31 (Reuters) – Italy's culture ministry on Wednesday banned the construction of a McDonald's fast-food restaurant next to the ancient Caracalla spas in Rome, with Mayor Virginia Raghi saying "the wonders of Rome must be protected" “.
Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli announced his decision in a Facebook post after the municipal administration loudly protested against the idea of serving burgers in the archaeological site that hosts AD's 3rd-century spas.
"" We go forward with the Minister of Culture to stop building fast food in the archeological area of the Baths of Caracalla. The miracles of Rome must be protected, Raghi wrote on Twitter after the announcement of Bonissol.
McDonald's did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
McDonald's has more than 40 locations in the Italian capital, some of them near landmarks such as Piazza Navona, Piazza di Spagno (Spanish Stairs) and the Vatican, but not far to the middle of its revered ancient quarter.
In 1986, intellectuals and television figures fought, finally in vain, against the opening of the first McDonald's in Piazza di Spagna, calling it an insult to Italy's traditional food culture.
In the case of the Caracalla Spas, Italian media say the McDonald's exit is expected to cover 800 square meters (8,611 square meters), in an area where new construction must meet strict criteria to reflect historical tradition.
The former garden center that would host the new McDonald's is located between the spas and the ancient walls of Aurelia, a few hundred yards (yards) away from the Colosseum and Circus Maximus.
According to statista.com, Italy had the fourth-largest McDonald's restaurant in the European Union last year with 578, behind only Germany, France and the UK. (Reporting by Angelo Amante Editing by Mark Heinrich)