This week the media and public have learned that the City of Florence has been in talks with the international fast-food chain McDonald’s for a new branch opening right in Piazza Duomo, on the northern side of the cathedral. An uproar has risen on social media, while the city’s mayor, Dario Nardella, has spoken publicly against the opening, throwing his own commissioner into confusion.
Giovanni Bettarini, commissioner for productive activities in the city council, has outlined that the project he has been working on is quite unique, ensuring that the fast-food chain change its usual mode of business and used local suppliers for its offerings. For example, the project outlined use of Tuscan meat for its burgers and other local products (including use of dairy products by Tuscan-based Mukki) and that the business respected all regulations imposed on Florence’s historical center given its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While talks were already in an advanced stage, now everything is back in the air. To open a new branch under the shade of Brunelleschi’s dome, the international company had already expressed its willingness to design a unique restaurant, not based on its fast-food model but as a sit-down restaurant with wait staff and service at the table, no cash registers with large menus with its burger behind and above them and to redesign a special look for its interior, one that would have included a children’s library hosting cultural events.
For now, the idea of a McDonald’s in Piazza Duomo has the public in an uproar, particularly on social media. What do you think, should we wait and see the entire project to decide whether to give McDonald’s a chance at offering something truly unique for the city of Florence or should we oppose a fast-food chain, particularly the one that represents consumerism at its most extreme, right in Piazza Duomo next to the cathedral, symbol of Florence?
(As quick reminder, there are already 2 McDonald’s nearby in less than 5 minutes walking distance from the Duomo in the historical center, one on Via Cavour heading toward Piazza San Marco and another outside the Santa Maria Novella train station.)