The people of Genoa are willing to go to great lengths to ensure travelers can take a taste of the Italian city home with them.
In early June, the city’s airport announced it had relaxed its strict liquids regulations — but only for customers buying local pesto.
The Independent explained, under Genoa airport’s new scheme, Il Pesto è Buono (pesto is good), travelers can bring up to 100ml of pesto in their carry-ons so long as they also make a make a donation to the local children’s charity Flying Angels. The suggested donation is just 50 cents.
Since the program began the airport said it has raised more than €500. “We consider it an amazing result,” airport press officer Nur El Gawohary told The Independent.
El Gawohary additionally explained that prior to the new rule the airport security team would confiscate and throw away hundreds of jars of the delicious sauce each year.
“It was a waste of food and an annoyance for our passengers,” El Gawohary said. “So we started to think about how we could allow people traveling with hand baggage only to take pesto with them.”
The airport worked with ENAC, Italy’s civil aviation authority, to ensure that the program was safe. As The Independent noted, the pesto is checked at security by the same anti-explosive equipment as is used to check medicines and breast milk.
And while it may seem excessive for an airport to go to such great lengths to allow a little green sauce to go through security, it’s actually incredibly meaningful for Genoa, which is the birthplace of pesto.
“It’s true that you can buy pesto in the airport, but for the Genoese, traditional pesto — made at home or by your favourite company, has a special value,” El Gawohary said. “Every family has their own recipe, and to be able to take pesto made by your mother or grandmother as a gift is really something that we felt important.”