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Why McDonald’s Is Suing This Italian City for 18 Million Euros

What has Florence done to anger the global burger chain?
Phoebe Hurst
London, GB

The city of Florence is known for many things. Terracotta-tiled cathedrals, Botticelli paintings, wine, awe-inspiring Renaissance architecture …

And now, it could be known as the city that got sued by McDonald's for millions of Euros.

It was reported this week that the fast food chain would be suing the Italian city for 18 millions Euros after it was blocked from opening a restaurant on one of its historic plazas, the Piazza del Duomo.


Back in June, McDonald's had plans to build a restaurant on the famous Renaissance piazza rejected by Florence's mayor. The decision was upheld in July by a technical panel in charge of preserving the city's historic areas.

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In response, McDonald's modified its plans for the restaurant, which it says fit with Florence's city guidelines and "operate respectfully towards the local policies, even accepting to introduce typical local products in our offer."

The chain is now claiming it has been unfairly discriminated against and is launching a bid for damages, attempting to recoup the 17.8 million Euros it says it will lose over the next 18 years.

That's a lot of Quarter Pounders.

In a statement to the BBC, McDonald's said: "We completely agree that the cultural and artistic heritage and the Italian historical town centres have to be protected and guaranteed, as well as the traditions and the historical small shops, but we cannot accept discriminatory regulations that damage the freedom of private initiative without being advantageous to anyone."

Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella, however, feels differently. He said that the city was not prejudiced in rejecting the burger chain's plans to open a new branch, telling the city council earlier this year: "We also have the right to say no."

You may find it hard to say no to a Chicken Legend with extra barbecue sauce when the 3 AM munchies hit, but it seems Florence hopes to stand more firm.