American fast-food giant seeks return to Pantheon in Rome.
A new branch of McDonald's is set to open in front of the Pantheon in the heart of Rome's historic centre, according to reports in local media.
Construction work on a 300-sqm McDonald's fast-food outlet is reportedly underway at a former bank near the ancient monument, which is visited by around seven million people a year.
Italian news agency Adnkronos reports that the American fast-food giant is seeking to transfer a restaurant license from a former McDonald's outlet, facing the Pantheon, which closed several years ago.
In recent days the Associazione Abitanti Centro Storico di Roma has written to Italy's culture minister Alberto Bonisoli to object to the planned opening, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
The news follows the recent suspension of a controversial plan to open a McDrive near the third-century Baths of Caracalla in central Rome.
The project, which would have seen a McDonald's located in a privately-owned garden centre, had been fully approved by local city authorities but was blocked by Italy's culture ministry.
The decision followed the intervention of Rome mayor Virginia Raggi and a flurry of negative publicity in the international media.
There are already several dozen McDonald's fast-food restaurants in Rome, including outlets near the Spanish Steps and the Vatican.
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McDonald's set to open at Pantheon in Rome
Piazza della Maddalena, 00186 Roma RM, Italy