McDonalds has opened its first franchise in Borgo Pio near St Peter’s Basilica on December 30th, despite outrage of its controversy in some areas.

The first McDonalds has opened near St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City on December 30th. The Basilica is the spiritual home of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, and has caused an uproar of criticism since it announced last year that it is opening a McDonalds franchise. It opened in a popular touristic area, according to a statement McDonalds released.


“As is the case whenever McDonald’s operates near historic sites anywhere in Italy, this restaurant has been fully adapted with respect to the historical environment,” the company said.

One critic was Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, who said McDonalds is “far removed from Roman gastronomic traditions and is not the healthiest of foods.”

“The mega sandwich shop on Borgo Pio is a disgrace,” Sgreccia told La Repubblica newspaper at the time.

“It would be better to use those spaces to help the needy of the area, spaces for hospitality, shelter and help for those who suffer, as the Holy Father teaches,” Sgreccia said.


Some local business owners have personally written letters to Pope Francis to ask him to shame the opening of the franchise, as they see it does not fit the artistic, culture and “social identity” of the neighborhood. Consumer group Codacons and a committee that was set up to protect Borgo Pio said that the restaurants and shops selling religious articles were already “saturated” and bringing in more tourists would be a security risk.

However, some people who frequently visit the area welcomed the new franchise. Two nuns were spotted on Tuesday enjoying the new McDonalds branch, despite the outrage.

Rafaella Scarano, an Italian woman who works near the area said: “Anything that is good for the economy of our country is fine by me.”