What is Bocce Ball?

What is Bocce Ball? 

You may have seen many people play this lawn game during picnics, camp outs or parties. Maybe you have always wanted to participate and play but wanted to learn the rules first. What is this fun game that has been played for centuries?

Its origin has been traced as far back as 5000 B.C. in Egypt. It then continued on to Greece and then later on to the Roman Empire where they used coconuts from Africa as bocce balls. Later they used olive wood to carve out the bocce balls. Soon Bocce Ball became the game of rulers and statesmen. The greatest thinkers around the world loved to play this game. From Galileo to Leonardo di Vinci and even Queen Elizabeth was a big fan. So how did this great game make its way to America? By the Italians when they immigrated to the US in the 19th century. While rules have changed and different versions had been played, a dominant version became the one that succeeded with specific rules.

In Bocce Ball there is a set of eight large bocce balls with half containing a different color. There is a singular smaller ball which is called the “pallino.” Bocce Ball should be on a flat and level surface. This can be grass, dirt or fine gravel. The players can be up to 4 on a team but only 1 player, 2 player and 4 player teams to make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to throw the ball. The main objective of the game is to throw your ball closes to the pallino.

At the start of the game one person throws the pallino ball. It is from there that the goal becomes throwing your ball as close as you can to it. Once the first person throws their ball, he is considered the “inside” as his ball is now the closest to the pallino ball. All the other players with their balls are considered “outside.” Each player throws their ball trying to get closest to the pallino. The player who is the closest is considered the inside and therefore has to forfeit his turn throwing their bocce balls. After everyone has thrown their ball, it is the “inside” who will be awarded points. A point will be given to the player for every ball that is closer to the pallino than his closest competitor’s ball. This marks the end of the frame and another frame can now start. A game is won when a player reaches a set number of points. You can play as many frames needed for someone to reach these points.


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