The Real Reason This Famous City Objected To Having A McDonald's

If you go for a stroll or a drive through any major urban or suburban area, it may start to seem like there's a McDonald's on every street corner. Nor is this just an American phenomenon, since even world travelers often get the feeling that they're never more than a burger's throw from the nearest Golden Arches. In fact, we wouldn't be all that surprised if we ever land an astronaut on Mars and they find a martian Mickey D's franchise already up and running.

It does come as a surprise, though, to find that there are nearly 100 countries throughout the world that have no McDonald's restaurants at all (via U.S. Sun). Iceland closed theirs down after the economic collapse of '08 (although the world's 2nd-oldest burger remains), while Bermuda and North Korea ban foreign-owned food chains. Other countries may be too small, too under-populated, too remote, or just not that fond of fast food. In fact, throughout the entire continent of Africa, McDonald's restaurants can only be found in Egypt, Mauritius, Morocco, and South Africa. In Europe, on the other hand, every single country has had a McDonald's at one time or other, except for one tiny country that is also a city. Can you guess which one?

No Golden Arches in this holy city

If you guessed anything other than Vatican City as the answer, bzzzztt, nope, you lose. While Europe is home to two of the world's three city states (via World Atlas), Monaco did have its own McDonalds until fairly recently (though Google indicates that the location is now permanently closed). Vatican City, however, has no interest whatsoever in allowing Mickey D's within their bounds. In fact, local dignitaries were extremely upset when McDonald's opened a restaurant in 2017 just outside their borders and in full view of St. Peter's Square.

Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, the now-deceased President Emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life (via the Vatican Press Office), spoke with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica to say the restaurant was "not at all respectful of the architectural and urban traditions of one of the most characteristic squares overlooking the colonnade of St. Peter" (translated courtesy of The New York Times). He was also disappointed that the Vatican-owned building leased by the restaurant hadn't been put to a more charitable use, as well as the fact that McDonald's food is not only unhealthy, but "ignores the culinary tradition of Roman cuisine." While the opening of a neighborhood McDonald's may have been a bitter pill for the Vatican old guard to swallow, it's not like the Vatican gets nothing out of the deal. As the NYT reports, McDonald's pays over $30k per month for the privilege of feeding papal-peeping pilgrims.