McDonald's banned from site near ancient Rome baths

Mayor: 'The wonders of Rome must be protected'

By Jack Guy, CNN
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

(CNN) - McDonald's fast food outlets are ubiquitous sights around the world, but Italy's culture ministry has banned the chain from building yet another restaurant in the capital, Rome.

The proposed restaurant would have been built next to the ancient Baths of Caracalla, but plans were rejected.

"Already expressed my opposition to a fast food in the archaeological area of Caracalla Terme," wrote Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli on Facebook. "I inform you that the cultural ministry revoked authorization."

Mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi praised the decision on Twitter.

"We go forward with the culture minister to stop fast food construction in the archaeological area of the Baths of Caracalla," she wrote. "The wonders of Rome must be protected."

The baths date from the 3rd century and sit near the center of the city, fairly close to the Coliseum and other famous sites. Caracalla ruled as co-emperor from 198 until 211 with his father. He then ruled alone until his assassination in 217.

Despite the decision, visitors to Rome will not have to travel too far to get their hands on a Big Mac.

The Italian capital already has 40 McDonald's restaurants, according to Reuters, with outlets close to famous landmarks such as the Vatican and the Spanish Steps.

There are 578 McDonald's restaurants in Italy, trailing only Germany, France and the UK in a ranking of European Countries on statista.com.

CNN has contacted McDonald's for comment, but has yet to receive a response.

Rome has struggled to deal with the sheer number of visitors in recent years.

As a result the city has introduced a raft of new laws designed to improve behavior and boost respect for the ancient city.

Anyone caught posing as a Roman centurion with tourists and demanding cash can now be fined 450 euros ($400). While that might seem rather unlikely, new rules against street drinking are perhaps more understandable.

It's now illegal for bars to serve alcohol between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m., while anyone with an open alcoholic drinks container found drinking in the street after 10 p.m. can be hit with a fine.

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