McDonald’s Banned from Building New Store near Roman Historic Site

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. heritage / ˈhɛr ɪ tɪdʒ / (n) – things from a nation’s past that are important to its culture and history

    The locals don’t support the government’s decision to demolish the building because it is part of the country’s heritage.

  2. outlet / ˈaʊt lɛt / (n) – one of the stores owned by a certain company

    The country’s biggest fast-food chain has over 500 outlets around the country.

  3. date back / deɪt bæk / (idiom) – to have started or existed since a specific time in the past

    The oldest temple here dates back to the 16th century.

  4. a stone’s throw away / ə stoʊnz θroʊ əˈweɪ / (idiom) – near

    He walks to school because it is just a stone’s throw away from his house.

  5. second / ˈsɛk ənd / (v) – to agree with what someone said

    My coworkers seconded my suggestion to reward people who come to work very early.


Read the text below.

Italy’s Ministry for Cultural Heritage stopped McDonald’s from building an outlet near a historic bathhouse in Rome.

The bathhouse, called the Baths of Caracalla /ˌkær əˈkæl ə/, dates back to the third century. It had big rooms and pools where ancient Romans would go to bathe and socialize with others.

McDonald’s had hoped to build its new store in a privately-owned garden center a stone’s throw away from the baths. The fast-food chain was even able to secure construction permit from local authorities for its planned 800-square-meter restaurant, which could accommodate 250 customers. The restaurant was also supposed to include a café and a drive-through.

Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi [RAD-ji] seconded the culture ministry’s decision and claimed that she was not aware of the planned construction. In a statement posted online, Raggi demanded the cancellation of the plan and the protection of the city’s historic sites. She was concerned that the construction of a McDonald’s outlet might affect the city’s heritage and damage the ancient bathhouse.

McDonald’s already has over 40 locations around Rome, with some of them located near famous landmarks. Fast-food chains like McDonald’s are often blamed for the buildup of trash in the historic city.

In a statement, McDonald’s defended its plans, saying that the restaurants it builds near historic sites all over the world remain respectful to the local environment. The company further explained that its plans for the new location included playgrounds and botanical gardens so that both tourists and locals can enjoy themselves. In addition, the outlet would have opened jobs for 50 to 80 people.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think fast-food chains should be allowed to build outlets near historic sites? Why or why not?
• What policies should local governments impose on companies that open stores near historic sites? Discuss.

Discussion B

• What are some historic sites in your country that should be protected? Why are these places important?
• How can these historic places be protected? Explain.