Italy pizzeria hands out free pizzas to traffic jam

A margherita pizza Image copyright ROBERTO SALOMONE/AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Facebook users saluted Mr Di Maria for acting in a way that others may not have done

A pizzeria owner in northern Italy has won plaudits from his compatriots after handing out free pizzas to drivers stuck in a huge traffic jam.

Motorists in Genoa were caught in long tailbacks during the evening rush on Monday because of a large fire raging in nearby hills. Local roads - including the motorway - were closed due to smoke, leaving many drivers stuck in their vehicles for hours.

When local pizzeria owner Simone Di Maria saw news of the gridlock online, he set about delivering food and water to some of those who were stuck, Il Secolo XIX reports. Some took to Facebook to express their gratitude, with one famished driver describing it as a "godsend" after hours of queuing.

In response, Mr Di Maria said that he imagined himself in their shoes. "You can't leave people starving at dinner time," he wrote on the pizzeria's Facebook page. "A margherita is a small gesture that can get a bad day back on track."

It has since been liked by more than 1,500 people and attracted dozens of comments praising the act of generosity. Among a stream of heart and applause emojis, one woman called on the mayor to publicly thank those involved for acting in a way that is "unfortunately increasingly rare these days".

Fire crews have been battling flames in the hills around Genoa for days, forcing the evacuation of some homes. Mr Di Maria says flames came within 100m (330ft) of his own home, and adds that the real thanks should go to the emergency services "who worked tirelessly, at great risk, to ensure the safety of us all".

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