Italy’s Culture Ministry has halted plans for the construction of a McDonald’s restaurant inside the archeological area of Rome’s Bath of Caracalla.
In the project, the McDonald's complex would be built within the lot owned by plant nursery Eurogarden and would occupy 10,000 square meters. The actual restaurant would occupy 800 square meters, and would include a McDrive area, to order directly from the car, and a McCafé, with a total of 250 seats between internal and external area. The complex would include an indoor greenhouse, “to keep a connection with the nursery,” McDonald's points out.
“Matching the Baths of Caracalla with a brand like the one underlying the project (McDonald's, ed.) would, in my opinion, damage Rome’s urban identity, even though the project claims to soften its impact,” Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi, who opposes the plan, has said. “The wonders of Rome must be protected.”
Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli said on Facebook Wednesday, “Having already expressed my opposition to a fast food restaurant in the Baths of Caracalla archeological area, I inform you that the culture ministry has annulled the authorization."
The Baths of Caracalla were Rome's second largest public baths, built in the 3rd century AD, during the reigns of emperors Septimius Severus and Caracalla. They were in operation until the 6th century, then fell into disuse and ruin. They inspired the architecture of other notable buildings, including the Baths of Diocletian, the Basilica of Maxentius, and, more recently, the original Pennsylvania Station in New York and Chicago Union Station.