Want to Dine Above an Ancient Roman Road in Italy? Head to McDonald's.
Italy is famous for ancient ruins like the Colosseum, Pompeii and the Pantheon. But you don't need to visit one of the country's numerous celebrated sites to experience a bit of its history. The latest spot to view a part of Italy's ancient culture? Good ole Mickey D's.
On Tuesday, McDonald's opened its doors in Marino, Italy with a special piece of history on display — a 147-foot stretch of an ancient Roman road. The restaurant, which is located about 12 miles southeast of central Rome, had to temporarily halt construction in 2014 when the road was discovered while digging for the building's foundations.
While this sort of discovery is not uncommon in Italy, McDonald's decision to sponsor the excavation and fund the site's upkeep was rather remarkable. McDonald's worked with archeological authorities to preserve the road, which is open to all visitors, not just those coming for a Happy Meal. The road, which was built between the first and second centuries B.C., would most likely have been purposefully recovered had McDonald's decided not to preserve and maintain it.
McDonald's has spent around $315,000 on the restoration project, which has included the excavation and documentation of the space as well as enclosing part of the road in a gallery with a glass ceiling so restaurant patrons can snack on their McNuggets while taking in the Roman road below. Squeamish customers should be wary though — the road also proudly displays the skeletons of three men found in the gutter of the road, unmoved from their original resting places.