Introduction to Bocce

Where is bocce from?

Historians trace bocce’s origin to Egypt around 5000 B.C., where it spread to Greece and later, the Roman Empire. The Romans used coconuts brought back from Africa and later used hard olive wood to carve out bocce balls. Beginning with Emperor Augustus, bocce became the sport of statesmen and rulers. The heritage of the world’s oldest sport includes great thinkers such as Galileo and Leonardo di Vinci, rulers such as Augustus and Queen Elizabeth, the noble Sir Francis Drake and even America’s own George Washington. Italian immigrants introduced bocce to the Americas during the 19th century. In the first couple of years, there were many different versions of bocce being played across America, but after a while, there came to be one dominant version with specific rules. The term bocce comes from the Italian word boccia, which means “bowl.” It is played around Europe and also oversees areas that have received Italian immigrants, such as Australia, North America, and South America.

Basic Rules of Bocce

Equipment: A set of bocce balls consisting of eight large bocce balls (half of which are of a different color or pattern) and a smaller “object ball” called a pallino.

Playing surface: The playing surface should be reasonably flat and level. It can be made of packed dirt, fine gravel or short grass.

Players: The game is played with two teams–each team can have 1, 2, or 4 players.

One player team – each player throws 4 balls

Two player team – each player throws 2 balls

Four player team – each player throws 1 ball

Objective: The objective of the game is for one team to get their bocce balls as close as possible to the pallino.

How to play

At random, choose a player to throw the pallino. After the pallino is thrown,  the same player will throw his first bocce ball. After the first player has thrown his first bocce ball, he is considered “inside” because his ball is closer to the pallino than any of the competitor’s balls. All other players are considered “outside.” Whenever a player is considered “inside,” he will forfeit his turn throwing bocce balls.  All “outside” players will take turns throwing their bocce balls until one of theirs gets closer to the pallino than the “inside” player.

Scoring: After all players have thrown their bocce balls, the player who is “inside” will be awarded points.  One point will be awarded to this player for every ball that is closer to the pallino than his closest competitor’s ball.  After the points are awarded, the frame is completed.  Start a new frame by electing a new player to throw the pallino and to throw the first bocce ball.  A game is won when a player reaches a set number of points.  Play as many frames as necessary until a player reaches this point level.

Comments are closed.