A new branch of McDonalds has opened next to the Vatican City despite widespread opposition from local residents and cardinals. But as Ivor Bennett reports, the restaurant dubbed 'McVatican' doesn't seem to be having trouble attracting customers.
Churches may be full of arches. But for some in the Vatican, this is one set too many. The arrival of a McDonald's in the shadow of the Holy See is not they say a happy meal. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) UNIDENTIFIED PRIEST, SAYING: "No, I don't like it." (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) UNIDENTIFIED NUN, SAYING: "I never go to McDonald's, I prefer pizza." The new restaurant is barely 100 metres from the Vatican's walls. and is in line of sight of where the Pope gives his Sunday address. But it's not so much the proximity that's the problem. After all, there are already two other branches around the corner. The issue here is that it's on church property. Taking the bottom floor in a building that's already home to several senior cardinals. Others though appear less worried about who puts the pie in piety. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) FATHER ALESSANDRO, SAYING: "I think there are more serious problems in the world than whether McDonald's is too close to St. Peter's, there are greater scandals." (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) LOCAL WORKER, RAFFAELLA SCARANO, SAYING: "for me it is not a problem, anything that is good for the economy of our country is fine by me. " It certainly sounds like it's good for the Vatican economy. One Italian daily put the monthly rent at 30,000 dollars - equivalent to about 6500 Big Macs. Bringing a new meaning perhaps to the term 'holy cow'.