McDonald’s is suing the city of Florence, Italy for more than $19 million after the city has denied the chain the right to build a restaurant in a historic plaza.
In June, Florence mayor Dario Nardella denied McDonald’s the right to build a restaurant in the Piazza del Duomo, near the city’s historic renaissance-style Cathedral. The BBC reports that the decision was upheld in July by a panel in charge of preserving the city’s history.
But McDonald’s says it has changed its plans to fit within the city’s guidelines, and claims it’s being discriminated against. It estimates that it will lose almost a million Euros a year for the next 18 years, and it wants Florence to pay up.
"We completely agree that the cultural and artistic heritage and the Italian historical town centres have to be protected and guaranteed, as well as the traditions and the historical small shops, but we cannot accept discriminatory regulations that damage the freedom of private initiative without being advantageous to anyone," McDonald’s said in a statement to the BBC.
“We also have the right to say no,” Nardella told city council.
This isn’t the first time McDonald’s has had trouble opening a restaurant in Italy. Earlier this year, the Catholic church voiced its displeasure after the chain tried to open a restaurant just blocks away from the Vatican.
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.