ALTAVILLA VICENTINA, Italy —Some might say that Italians act like they’re maneuvering in go-carts, no matter what (or where) they’re actually driving.

Aggressive tactics and speed aside, that’s not really true. However, those stationed in Vicenza who do wish to get behind the wheel and take a fast little vehicle around the track are in luck. Vicenza Kart Indoor is located just southwest of the city along the SS-11.

Owners Zlatan Tupekovic and Matteo Zanettin opened the business about five years ago. These days it operates only in the late afternoon and evening hours, providing an oulet for those needing to get rid of some stress after work.

Tupekovic said that driving a cart is quite a bit different from driving a standard car. Drivers are a lot closer to the ground and have to use both their feet — the left for the break and the right for the gas. They also have to wear helmets for safety and overalls to keep clean. Drivers don’t need licenses. So those 8 and older can take a crack at it.

The track, which is mostly inside a large warehouse-like building, is lined by tires. Because of safety concerns, the vehicles can’t go faster than 60 kilometers per hour, less than 40 mph. But with all the twists and turns “you feel that you are going faster,” Tupekovic said.

Business is definitely busier on the weekends, when Tupekovic suggests making reservations. But on a week night last week, few people were around, giving a prospective driver a wide open track.

Augusto Valente, a resident of Padova, had just finished a 10-minute stint on the track. He is a regular customer, visiting every Tuesday night.

“I love carting,” he said of the reason he makes a trip that takes him at least twice as long each way to get to the facility than he actually spends driving there. Valente usually drives alone now, but he said he used to drive with a handful of friends when he worked at another company.

Tupekovic said customers who come together can arrange to race against each other, provided the track is free. Or they can just try it by themselves. He said a driver’s name is put up on the scoreboard and they can see the times they’re posting as they race underneath it.

There’s also a small gallery for those who want to just sit and watch. A bar serves sandwiches and a variety of drinks. Don’t expect to get behind the wheel — either of the cart or your car — if you’ve had too much to drink, though, Tupekovic said.

This is one establishment where designated drivers easily outnumber those drinking.

See previous After Hours reviews here.

Vicenza Kart Indoor

Prices: 15 euros for 10 minutes on the track during the week, 25 euros for 20 minutes and 27 euros for 30 minutes. Prices on the weekends are higher.

Specialties: Sandwiches for about 3.50 euros. They’re pretty simple and involve Italian ham, mushrooms, cheese and bread. There’s a wider assortment of drinks: about half a dozen brands of beer in bottles (3 euros each), two on tap (2 euros for small glass, 3.50 for half liter glass) as well as wine, soft drinks, fruit drinks, Red Bull and coffee.

Dress: Helmets and overalls while driving on the track (both are provided).

Clientele: Race car enthusiasts.

Hours: Monday through Thursday 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday 4 p.m. to midnight.

Location: Via Verona 74. The facility is located on a small frontage road that parallels the SS-11. It's a few kilometers southwest of Vicenza on the way to Verona.

Phone: 0444-371357


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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for 40 years.

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