Why Rome Should Ban McDonalds At The Pantheon

Junk food giant McDonalds is trying (re)open a temple to processed meat at the place built 2000 years ago to be a temple to all Gods, and I for one am not happy about it.

The Pantheon in Rome was built 2000 years ago by emperor Hadrian.
The Pantheon was built 2000 years ago by Emperor Hadrian. It has been in constant use ever since.

Italy pioneered the slow food movement, a movement that is about real food, in season, not processed, as close to farm to table as possible, eaten at a table with friends and family. Basically the complete antithesis to the garbage that is McDonalds.

So the American junk franchise aggressively trying to push its way into the sites of ancient ruins is even more offensive than otherwise.


No One Wins With McDonalds. Except McDonalds.

Although there’s a McDonalds on every street corner in America they are few and far between in Italy. The Fast food culture hasn’t really taken off in Italy, a country where meals are consumed sitting at a table be it at home or in a restaurant.

But McDonalds isn’t targeting Italians. Italy is one of the most touristed countries in the world, and McDonalds wants those tourists, so it is trying to worm its way into the big tourist sites. Just last week they got turned away from the Baths of Caracalla, this week they are trying to pollute the Pantheon.

The Piazza della Rotonda, home of the Pantheon has a variety of eating options, from artiginal gelato, to the most famous coffee shop in the world (Tazza d’Oro) to a variety of trattoria and restaurants. You can sit outside at a table with a view of the Pantheon and enjoy Italian food and culture. McDonalds wants to violate that, siphoning off Americans and Chinese and plowing their tourist dollars into junk-o-rama at the expense of the local businesses.


Three Ways McDonalds Makes Rome Lose

There are multiple ways the city loses when McDonalds comes to town, but lets look at three of them:

* Local Business Suffers

Italians don’t really benefit too much from all these tourists. Beautiful, historical piazzas such as Piazza della Rotonda don’t charge an entry fee, you just walk in. The only way the city and the people make money is by tourists spending money in stores and at food establishments. Local business benefit from the influx of tourists sitting at their tables, eating their food.

Glam Italia Tour in Rome at the Pantheon in Piazza della Rotonda
June 2019, Glam Italia Tour at the Pantheon

If a percentage of those tourists are now getting Big Macs instead, those local businesses get hurt.

* The Trash!

American fast food chains generate an extraordinary amount of trash. Here in the states people walk around eating fast food and then (hopefully) dump the refuse into trash cans. Look around any American city and see how much fast food rubbish is littered around the streets. A McDonalds by the Pantheon is going to create trash around the Pantheon.

traash on the streets of Rome has become a crisis
Trash in Rome has reached crisis levels since the closure of the Malagrotta landfill a few years ago, then the fire at the Salario landfill last year.

It should also be noted that Rome already has a problem with trash collection and disposal. The city doesn’t need American food franchises adding to the volume and making it worse.

* The Extra Crowds

A McDonalds at the Pantheon will draw even more people into the area as tourists follow the signs to the golden arches. As tricky as it can be to take a photo of the Pantheon without tourists getting in the way, a McDonalds will make it worse.


The Burden Of Extra Tourists In The Piazza

Bringing American tourists to a McDonalds at the Pantheon also brings more problems, for everyone – you and me included.


Whether they are right or wrong, pick pockets think American tourists have the best and easiest stuff to steal. The average American tourist is likely to have more cash on them than the average European or Eastern European. The flash more jewelry, more overall bling, and as a result are pickpocket magnets.

If you were a pickpocket and didn’t want to hang out at the Trevi Fountain, a big American fast food chain would be the next best thing. Easy pickings from distracted tourists busy supersizing their orders and plowing through fries. I wouldn’t care about that – serves you right for eating there, but now you have drawn more pickpocketing to the area, and that impacts all of us.


If you belong to some deranged sect and want to inflict harm on a large group and get your cause some internationally televised fame and attention, what better place to do it than one where Americans hang out? McDonalds, Starbucks, Subway – none of them should be in Italy, period. I tell all of my Glam Italia Tour travelers to stay the heck away from them and with the exception of two travelers, over the years have been successful.

Although I travel the world without fear of terror attacks, I do consciously avoid the areas around McDonalds and Co. While writing this I did a quick google search on terror attacks and McDonalds. It looks like over the years there have been plenty.

McDonalds had a junk food palace in the Piazza della Rotonda in the past but was run out of town back in 2011. Hopefully the powers that be will turn their backs on any kickbacks paying the chain’s way into the piazza. The reversal on permitting the proposed Baths of Caracalla McDonalds at least gives me some hope.

If you feel you need McDonalds to be part of your travel experience, maybe just stay home?

Do you want a bigger, more authentic experience in Rome, away from the tourist crowds but still in the heart of the city? My new book Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things to Do in Rome: Beyond the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps shows a different side of the Eternal City, with loads of options for incredible things to do without the crush of tourists! It is already a bestseller – get your copy today and see why!

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I am so excited to tell you that my new book is finally here! Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things to Do in Rome: Beyond the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps is now available worldwide on Amazon.com

Did you know that Rome is the 3rd most visited city in Europe and the 12th most touristed city in the world? Every year millions of people come to Rome. The problem is, most of them just hit the same handful of major tourist sites – The Colosseum, The Forum, The Vatican, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, plus a few others. So everywhere they go they have to deal with huge crowds, long lines to get in, too many selfie stick selling vendors, and pickpockets. They eat at tourist restaurants close by the big sites and overpay for underwhelming food that no self respecting Roman would ever eat. And at the end of it all they are happy to leave the city in the rear-view mirror.

I on the other hand LOVE Rome. I just absolutely love this amazing city. I spend a lot of time in Rome every year and along the way have discovered incredible places to visit and things to do that the tour buses don’t know about.

You will not even believe how many staggeringly brilliant sites there are in Rome, hiding in plain sight, right under your nose, just around the corner from the big tourist spots! Even better, hardly anyone knows about them. You can look up the street and see (literally) thousands of people waiting to get into a well known attraction like the Colosseum, then walk inside one of these mind blowing places and have it all to yourself, or maybe share it with a handful of others in the know.

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In Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things to Do in Rome I don’t tell you about the big sites – you already know about them! Instead every page is devoted to telling you about places you probably haven’t heard of before. (You may know of a few of them but chances are you won’t know them all). Rather than just tell you the name of a building, set of ruins or place to visit, I tell you the story behind it. The stories are at time hilarious, frequently intriguing and other times just plain crazy!

Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To do In Rome is broken up into 18 categories:

* 13 Places To Discover Ancient Rome
* 12 Places To Find Underground Rome
* 5 Special Places To Look for At The Forum and Palatine Hill
*10 Fascinating Churches and the Intriguing Stories That Go With Them
* 11 Really Unusual Things To See In Rome
* All About Piazza Navona
* The Battle of Bernini and Borromini
* The Caravaggios in Rome and Where To Find Them
* 12 Magnificent Museums In Rome
* The Ghosts of Rome
* 8 Fantastic Markets In Rome
* What To eat In Rome
* Where To Go Wine tasting In Rome
* The Best Instagram Spots In Rome
* The 7 best Places To watch The Sunset in Rome
* Rome After Dark
* 10 day Trips From Rome
* Tips For Travelers To Rome

There is something here for everyone. If you’re not into ancient history, art and churches you can enjoy learning about the best markets, the ghosts of Rome and the best Instagram spots in the city.

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How To Use This Book:

The last thing I want you to do is to try and see everything in the book! Instead read it all and then pick and choose items to add to your itinerary. You may not be interested in Caravaggio, but after reading some of the crazy stories in the chapter may decide to pop around the corner and go see one of them.

You may not have any interest in visiting churches, but find yourself intrigued with the story behind one of them and decide to go inside for a quick look.

You may want to add to your itinerary a market or two, a couple of underground Rome sites, and a museum before snacking on Rome’s best street food, taking in the sunset, going wine tasting and then seeking out the city’s famous ghosts. It’s all easy, close by and walkable!

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Learn where to find the very best Instagram places in Rome!

If you are coming to Rome on a cruise and have only a few hours in town, chances are you will choose to spend that time visiting several of these places instead of spending 3 hours doing the Vatican or the Colosseum. If you are here for a few days you will find lots of places to add to your existing plans, or maybe replace some of them!

Each place in the book has a What’s Nearby section at the end so you can see just how many cool things are all grouped very close together. In fact almost everything in this book is within a mile radius of the Largo Argentina, a fantastic ancient site in the very heart of the historic center of Rome. You won’t need a taxi – just walk from one to the next!


Which Formats Are Available?

Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Rome is available on Kindle and the Kindle App, and within the next two weeks (late May 2019) will also be available in paperback.

If you have one of the Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans plans you can download it for free! (These are plans where you can download books for free on any kindle device or on the kindle app) You can download the Kindle App to any Android device HERE or to any Apple ios device HERE

Generally the digital/eBook/Kindle version of any book is much cheaper than the hard copy as there is no manufacturing cost.

I sincerely hope you will get a copy of Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Rome. If you are on Pinterest please share the pin below to your boards. If you are on social media please share this post!

See you in the piazza,



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The best guide book for anyone traveling to Rome, Glam Italia! 101 fabulous Things To Do In Rome