An ancient game with roots in the Roman Empire,bocce is the third most played sport in the world. Discover its history and learn how to play with our guide below!
The history of bocce ball
The first known documentation of bocce was in 5200 B.C. with an Egyptian tomb painting that depicted two boys playing. The game spread throughout the Middle Easter and Asia, where it was eventually adopted by the Greeks and passed on to the Romans. The game was played by everyone – young or old, man or woman – thanks to its ease and versatility.
During his time unifying and nationalizing Italy, Giuseppe Garibaldi popularized bocce ball in Italy. Today, it is an Olympic sport. Because of its versatility – enjoyable at virtually any age, athletic ability, and location – bocce ball has become the third most played sport in the world.
How to play bocce ball
So, how do you play bocce? The game is played with eight bocce (larger balls) and one pallino (smaller target ball). The object is simple: toss the balls closest to the pallino.
Traditionally played with two teams, the game begins with a coin toss that determines which side tosses the pallino, also known as the “jack.” The same player who delivers the pallino then rolls, throws, or bounces the first ball down the court, as close to the pallino as possible. Using balls of a different color, the player on the opposite team goes next with the strategical option of knocking the opponent’s balls out of bound (or at least further from the pallino).
When each team has played its four balls, a predetermined judge decides which team’s balls are closest and accordingly awards the points of that round. The winning team tosses the pallino in the following round. The length of the game varies but typically ranges from 7 to 13 points.
In Italy, bocce’s popularity spans all demographics; it is considered the perfect activity on a relaxing afternoon!
In bocca al lupo– good luck!