Yes, you read that correctly. McDonald's has filed a lawsuit against the city of Florence, Italy for $20 million dollars in damages. Florence won't allow the placement of a new McDonald's in the historic Piazza del Duomo. This year, Florence implemented a licensing program to require city approval for placement of all new restaurants. In June 2016, the mayor of Florence promptly denied McDonald's application for a new restaurant near the Duomo.
McDonald's contends that the city is obstructing its ability to reap benefits off of Florence's most popular tourist spot. Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, affirms that this denial was in the interest of supporting smaller businesses. The locals agree: when plans for the new location were announced, over 24,000 Florentine residents signed a petition against the license application.
There are already nine McDonald’s locations in Florence, one on Via dei Calzaiuoli (fewer than two blocks from the Duomo). Although McDonald's offers wi-fi, cheap food, and a quick meal, it hardly adds to the cultural and artistic heritage that Florence embodies. Historically, the country of Italy has also sparred with Starbucks, protesting the opening of the American chain that defies all views on Italian coffee. So should these fast-food restaurants be allowed to open as they wish in Italy? We'll have to wait and see.
During my a semester abroad in Florence, I never set foot in an Italian McDonalds. With endless options out my doorstep, I never thought twice about enjoying a sit-down meal. For now, I think I'll stick to homemade pasta and pizza, thank you.