“It would be as if a beautiful woman, dressed perfectly, decided to go out with one finger stuck up her nose." That's the take of one resident in Florence, Italy, where the Telegraph reports McDonald's is fighting to open a restaurant near the city's famous Duomo, a UNESCO World Heritage site and "masterpiece of Renaissance design." According to the Wall Street Journal, Florence passed new rules in January to protect Tuscan businesses by curbing "mini-markets, kebab shops, and convenience stores that serve throngs of flip-flop clad tourists." Despite McDonald's redesigning the restaurant, agreeing to table service only, and promising to source 80% of ingredients—including its beef—locally, the city still rejected its proposal.
And it's not just city leaders rejecting the golden arches: 24,000 residents signed a petition against the restaurant, while others staged a march and demonstration against it. Still, McDonald's has filed a nearly $20 million lawsuit against the city, alleging "discriminatory regulations." "We have nine restaurants already in Florence and they provide jobs for 300 people, so why are we getting this treatment?” a McDonald's executive in Italy tells the Telegraph. But it's not just in Florence. The Guardian reports the fast-food chain's plan to open a location in a Vatican building "within sight of St. Peter's Square" is being met with resistance from citizens, as well as the cardinals who would suddenly find themselves living above a McDonald's. (Starbucks promises to open one location a day in China.)