Local Rome council rejects McDonald's request to transfer license at Pantheon.
American fast-food giant McDonald's has reportedly been refused authorisation by the local council of Rome's central Municipio I to transfer a license from a 34-sqm bar in Piazza della Rotonda to its planned 400-sqm outlet currently under construction near the Pantheon.
Work on the McDonald's fast-food outlet is underway at a former bank building on the corner of Salita de' Crescenzi and Piazza della Rotonda, partly facing onto the ancient monument which is visited annually by around seven million people.
The council's refusal, reported by Italian newspaper La Repubblica, was given on the grounds that the modification of the building did not meet technical standards, according to the commerce councillor for Municipio I, Tatiana Campioni.
La Repubblica quotes Campioni as saying that the "huge expansion and extension of activity on Salita de' Crescenzi" goes against municipal regulations aimed at safeguarding areas of historic importance from "a high concentration of commercial activities and constant pressures of crowds."
In early September Rome's superintendency for archaeology, fine arts and cityscape blocked McDonald's from building a steel chimney opposite the Pantheon, which critics claimed would impact negatively over the view of Borromini's celebrated church of S. Ivo alla Sapienza.
The news of the council's refusal comes two months after the suspension of a controversial plan to open a McDrive near Rome's third-century Baths of Caracalla.
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. There was a McDonald's in Piazza della Rotonda but it closed about a decade ago.
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Rome says no to McDonald's at Pantheon
Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Roma RM, Italy