Ancient History, Military, Social History

Roman Road Beneath McDonald’s Restaurant

Roman Road with that sir? Just about everyone has heard of the fast food restaurant chain with the golden arches, McDonald’s.  Many of us have eaten there.

There are McDonald’s restaurants in every state in the United States, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Paris, Rome. In fact they are in over ninety different countries in large cities and small towns alike.


When one of the most recent McDonald’s, built in Marino, Italy in 2014. While under construction when a Roman road was discovered. It is believed to have been built sometime between the first and second century BC. 

Usually when historical artifacts and archaeology are found during construction the project comes to a screeching halt. This is to allow archaeologists and paleontologists to examine the site.

Roman Road, paving slabs, walls made from stone
Located in Frattochie (south of Rome) this beautiful Roman road is a must see. Courtesy of Superintendency for Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape / Credit: Cinque Quotidiano


When such a large or unique site is found it is usually studied and then covered back up. This is to preserve the site for future excavation. This at best delays the project, or at worst, the whole projected it cancelled.

McDonald’s decided that they would sponsor the excavation. And incorporate the findings into the restaurant . Now visitors can walk along the one hundred and forty seven foot ancient road with no purchase required.

Guests can walk along the road that at one time was connected to the Appian Way. An early road of strategic importance built in 312 B.C. by Appius Claudius Caecus. It made its way across three hundred and fifty miles. Many call it Roman’s superhighway that was the express link from Rome to Italy.


A Reddit user Cowarddd comments:

The road was in use until around the late 2nd century/early 3rd century CE. The skeletons date to the mid-late 3rd, when the road was in disuse and rarely travelled. This isn’t the Appian way but one of many roads that connected to it. Far better routes were developed and older ones abandoned. There are 3 skeletons of males aged at oldest of 35-40, according to the lead archaeologist, Pamela Cerno.

Most likely, the road’s stones made easy graves for people to bury under. An abandoned road was a prime location. Relatively common practice. The abandoned road acted as a path and was usually well known by the local populace anyway. Disused roads became graveyards and tombs would line the road. I’m nearly certain this is the same.

preserved Roman road
The layer of top stones on a Roman road are called Summun Dorsum, or sometimes you’d see it written as Summun Crusta and they are actually curved like some modern roads, to allow the water to drain to the sides.  Courtesy of Superintendency for Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape / Credit: Cinque Quotidiano

First Museum-Restaurant

perfect Roman road
Disused roads became graveyards and tombs would line the road.Courtesy of Superintendency for Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape / Credit: Cinque Quotidiano

Construction in many parts of Europe often uncover Roman ruins especially in Italy.  A McDonald’s in Rome directly across the street from the Coliseum. Is in the train station and uses a fourth century BC section of the Servian wall in its décor.

“This is our first museum-restaurant,” said Mario Federico, the head of McDonald’s Italia, according to The Telegraph. “We’ve been able to return a stretch of Roman road to the local community and to the whole of Italy. The project is a good example of how the public and private sectors can collaborate effectively on reclaiming cultural heritage.”

WW2 C-47

There are many unusual McDonald’s restaurants including one in Taupo, New Zealand which is in an old 1943 Douglas DC-3.  It seats up to twenty people with ten tables. It was awarded Daily Meal’s World’s Coolest McDonald’s award in 2013. Which it proudly advertises on a sign next to the plane. 

McDonald’s in an old airplane in Taupō, New Zealand

The food is ordered in a typical McDonald’s building next door. But customers have the option of sitting inside the aircraft. It has remained in the same spot for over thirty years.

 Eileen Byrne remarked, “We got a lot of publicity from all over the world. Our locals are very proud of it. It has become a landmark here in New Zealand.” Black Sea

In northeast Ohio, the Cuyahoga Valley sports a McDonald’s with a huge round saltwater aquarium. It has a scuba diver who maintains much to the delight of children sitting near the tank. Many McDonald’s have indoor and outdoor playgrounds. One located in Batumi, Georgia on the coast of the Black Sea was built as a geodesic dome. It includes reflective panels. 

It is surrounded by a beautiful lawn and a reflecting pool.  Built in 2013, it was designed by architect Giorgi Khmaladze. And  won the award for the Best Commercial Building of 2014, according to

In 2019 the McDonald’s restaurant chain applied to build a new location. Next to the Roman Baths of Caracalla built in 216 AD under the reign of Emperor Septimius Severusin.

They had planned on building a two hundred and fifty seat dining room and a parking lot. The eight thousand and six hundred square foot site and were given permission to do so. 

A Disgrace

The public reaction was one of outrage and the city council soon revoked the permission.  McDonald’s had already begun to excavate and took the council to court with an appeal which they lost.

If you like this article, then please follow us on Facebook and Instagram

Another Article From Us: Roman Stadium Buried for 2000 Years   

In 2017 Mc Donald’s applied for a permit to open a restaurant in Vatican City next to the cathedral. It was denied when  Cardinal Elio Sgreccia called the opening of the “mega sandwich shop” a “disgrace.” according to

The hamburger chain is still planning to build about two hundred more McDonald’s locations in Italy. Bringing the total number in Italy to eight hundred with fifty four in Rome alone.