Posted in Lifestyle

Italian Balls

It can be played on almost any surface. It involves a ball, a court and an opponent whose singular goal is getting close enough to a small white ball, called the jack or pallino without kissing it “baci”. Although the rules of the game are far from romanticized (the name comes from the Latin word bottia, meaning boss), the sport is considered to be both “simpatico e popolare”.  The name of the game is Bocce, a game with an international flavor that Italians have perfected  where athleticism is not limited by age . Everyone begins on an equal playing field or in this case a 60 feet by 8 feet “court”, “rink” or “alley”.

La Bocce vita can be highly competitive yet social. Bocce players can often be seen with a ball in one hand and a glass of wine (or can of beer)  in the other. No special equipment is needed to play bocce other than a good set of balls and the most prestigious ones come from Italy. According to Perfetta, an Italian bocce manufacturer that makes bocce sets used by the best Italian players and bocce champions in the world, a good bocce ball must be technically sound to “roll true and straight”.  Super Martel , another Italian company from Ferrara, has a  computerized processing system for making the ball perfectly spherical (one of the most important features of this sport) and has some rockin colors like nero-giallo, bianco-azzurro and rosso-fluo.

A good way to spend a happy hour, there is a definite leisurality to the game and although simple to learn bocce takes a long time to get good at, a metaphor for “la dolce vita”. I’ve watched bocce in Italy, I’ve played with my family and friends. Now I think it’s time to get some balls of my own and maybe this summer build that DIY bocce court in my backyard.



Pamela Marasco is the founder and owner of The Cositutti Group, a travel and lifestyle resource for the food, wine, art and design of Northern Italy, Tuscany and Umbria where she travels extensively with her Italian family and friends taste testing regional Italian food for, a unique on-line shopping experience that connects you to the authentic flavors of the Italy. With an undergraduate degree in the biological sciences and a graduate degree in education, Pam is committed to farming practices and educational programs that ensure the true flavors of Italy are preserved and protected. You can learn more about her travels in Italy at Her recent books include Seeing and Savoring Italy - A Taste and Travel Journey through Northern Italy, Tuscany and Umbria and Pasta for a Princess. She also teaches on-line classes for the IUPUI School of BioInformatics / Human-Centering Computing/ Library and Information Science.

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