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Highest governing body International Bocce Federation
Nickname(s) Bocci
First played Ancient
Contact non-contact
Team members individual
Categorization boules
Equipment bocce (ball) & pallino (jack)
Olympic non-Olympic

, Naples, Italy]]

in 2007]]

Bocce (or Bocci, or Boccie)[1][2][3][4][5] is a ball sport belonging to the boules sport family, closely related to bowls and pétanque with a common ancestry from ancient games played in the Roman Empire. Developed into its present form in Italy (where it is called Bocce, the plural of the Italian word boccia which means "bowl"), it is played around Europe and also in overseas areas that have received Italian migrants, including Australia, North America and South America (where it is known as bochas; bolas criollas in Venezuela, bocha (the sport) in Brazil), initially amongst the migrants themselves but slowly becoming more popular with their descendants and the wider community. The sport is also very popular in the former Yugoslavian countries of Slovenia (known as balinanje[6]), Croatia (predominantly in the coastal regions; known as boćanje), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro.[7] In Southern France the sport is also popular and known as Boule Lyonnaise. It is also popular in certain regions of Mexico, such as Chipilo, where it is known as bochas.[8]


Rules and play

Bocce is traditionally played on natural soil or asphalt courts 27 metres in length and 2.5 to 4 meters wide.[9] Bocce balls can be made of metal[10] or various kinds of plastic. Unlike lawn bowls, bocce balls are spherical and have no inbuilt bias. A game can be conducted between two players, or two teams of two or four. A match is started by a randomly chosen side being given the opportunity to throw a smaller ball, the jack (called a boccino, or a pallino in some areas), from one end of the court into a zone about 5 metres in length, ending 2 metres from the far end of the court. If they miss twice, the other team is awarded the opportunity to place the jack anywhere they choose within the prescribed zone.

The side that first attempted to place the jack is given the opportunity to bowl first. Once the first bowl has taken place, the other side has the opportunity to bowl. From then on, the side which does not have the ball closest to the jack has a chance to bowl, up until one side or the other has used their four balls. At that point, the other side bowls its remaining bocce balls. The team with the closest bocce ball to the jack is the only team that can score points in any frame. The scoring team receives one point for each of their balls that is closer to the jack than the closest ball of the other team. The length of a game varies by region, but is typically from 7 to 13 points.[11]

Players are permitted to throw the ball in the air using an underarm action. This is generally used to knock either the jack or another ball away to attain a more favourable position. Tactics can get quite complex when players have sufficient control over the bocce ball to throw or roll it accurately.


File:Bocce sport 2.ogv
Video of the sport of bocce

A bocce player of note is Umberto Granaglia (May 20, 1931 – December 13, 2008), who was awarded the honor of "Player of the Twentieth Century" by the Confédération Mondiale des Sports de Boules.[12] Between 1957 and 1980 Granaglia won a record 13 World Championships, 12 European Championship titles, and 46 Italian National Championships. [13]

See also

  • Bowls
  • Fédération Internationale de Boules
  • Pétanque


External links



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Alternative forms


Italian bocce


Wikipedia has an article on:




bocce (uncountable)

  1. (sports) A game, similar to bowls or pétanque, played on a long, narrow, dirt-covered court




bocce f.

  1. Plural form of boccia.
  2. bowls (game)

Related terms



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