Controversial New McDonald's Opens Next to Vatican City, Prompts Holy Outrage

After visiting the Sistine Chapel, tourists and locals alike can now pray at the altar of St. Ronald, courtesy of a controversial new McDonald's that sits right near The Vatican. 

Located a stone's throw away from St. Peter's Basilica, the McDonald's has received a less-than-warm welcome from locals and religious figures alike. In an interview with Italy's La Repubblica, Cardinal Elio Sgreccia called the decision to approve the chain's lease "perverse," claiming that it "ignores the culinary traditions of the Roman restaurant." Local restauranteur Manuel Tosti (whose family restaurant sits across the street) echoed the cardinal's sentiment, stating that "when you come to Rome you should eat Roman food." Can't argue with that logic!

Of course, this ignores the swathe of less-than-fantastic restaurants in the area that cater to tourists, and assumes that everyone wants a sit-down meal (or indeed any local fare) after shuffling through the Vatican Museums all morning. It makes total sense to want to bury yourself in cacio e pepe while you're in Rome, but an inexpensive meal doesn't sound too bad if you've just spent a fortune on Last Judgment refrigerator magnets.

Despite petitions to have the fast food franchise stripped of its right to sling burgers in close proximity to the Pope, there are plenty who aren't bothered by the development -- including the Vatican, which is said to collect over $30,000 in rent from the restaurant each month. No word yet on whether the pontiff himself will be stopping by for a Happy Meal, though.

Gianni Jaccoma is an editor for Thrillist, and he would've killed for a McDonald's when he visited the Vatican. Follow him on Twitter @gjaccoma