McDonald’s banned from Rome’s ancient baths

McDonald’s banned from Rome’s ancient baths

McDonald’s banned from Rome’s ancient baths

Italy’s highest administrative court has definitively banned McDonald’s from building a 10,000-square-meter outlet in the shadow of the Caracalla Baths, one of Rome’s most famous ancient sites.

Released on Dec. 28, the Council of State’s decision upheld a lower court verdict barring the fast-food chain from using land adjacent to the baths to open a drive-thru restaurant and parking lot. He also said government authorities have the right to block future development projects in or near other important heritage sites.

The court made its decision on the basis of “the importance of protecting cultural heritage,” according to its ruling. As the ancient thermal baths are located in an area comprising the Caffarella Park, the Appian Way and the Roman aqueducts which are protected by regional and national landscape plans, as well as in the historic center of Rome protected by UNESCO, any project of development “expressly requires landscaping permissions,” which had not been granted previously, continues the decision.

“This clarification is extremely important for the future protection of our cultural and archaeological heritage,” Italia Nostra, a heritage protection organization, said in a statement.

The Baths of Caracalla were built from 212 to 216 and opened to the public during the reign of Emperor Caracalla. At its peak, the enormous structure, which was decorated with marbles, mosaics and carvings, was reportedly visited by between 6,000 and 8,000 people every day. It was free to attend.

McDonald’s had already started to build its drive-in next to the old thermal baths, following a favorable review of the project by the Ministry of Culture and the city council which authorized it, but the project was halted in 2019 when the then mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, intervened following a media outcry.

In 2016, another McDonald’s development, in Piazza del Duomo in Florence, was blocked off by the city’s mayor, Dario Nardella, who said at the time he did not want a fast food chain. in the cradle of the Italian Renaissance.