Upset as McDonald's opens in Vatican City

A new fast-food joint is proving a little hard to swallow for locals in the world's smallest country.

Vatican City's first McDonald's has opened near St Peter's Basilica. The famous white dome and Pope's Angelus window in the Apostolic Palace are clearly visible from under the Golden Arches. 

Restaurant and bar owners complained on Tuesday the Vatican's decision to rent the spot to the fast-food chain will have a negative impact on the traditional cuisine of the Borgo Pio neighbourhood.

Father Wolfgang Fisher, a local resident and German priest, would rather that hungry patrons try the local cuisine. 

"I have to say that right next to here there is a pizza seller that is better (than McDonald's), and it's also cheaper. This one is also expensive. But everyone should choose what he wants."

But the McDonald's is proving popular with other locals, including two nuns who stopped in for a midday bite. 

Italian nuns leaving McDonalds
Two nuns leaving the new McDonalds (Reuters)

A spokesman for McDonald's Italy said in a statement the "restaurant has been fully adapted with respect to the historical environment. As always, McDonald's meets or exceeds all national and local laws and policies related to business operations in this location."

McDonald's filed a US$20 million lawsuit against Florence after the Mayor turned down an application to open one of its restaurants there.