Besides some simple equipment, all that's needed to play bocce is a spirit of fun and good
sportsmanship. Any time is a good time to play bocce. It's not tied to any seasonal conditions,
and you'll fall in love with this game, as you face its athletic and strategic challenges.
A 90 Minute Lane rental refers to the TOTAL OCCUPATION TIME on the lane
Generally 80 minutes of play with the remaining time allocated to instruction, payment and
departure for the next reservation. This would similarly apply to other court rental durations
Just as you expected that your bocce court would be clean and ready for you at your scheduled
reservation time we ask all of our guests to please be mindful of other guests that have a
Teams will be comprised of four players. Two players from each team will be permanently stationed
at each end of the court, throwing two bocce balls each. At the end of each frame, the game
resumes at the opposite end of the court.
Begin the match with the flip of a coin between the captains of each team. The winner of the coin
flip may have the first toss of the pallino (small target ball), or choose the color of the
Tossing the Pallino
The play of the pallino is legal if it passes the center line of the court, is at least 3 feet
off the back board and at least a foot from the side wall. If a player fails to toss the pallino
properly, the opposing team will toss the pallino and put it into play. If the opposing team
fails to properly toss the pallino, the pallino reverts back to the original team. Any time a
player is rolling, opposing players must remain outside the court.
Starting the Bocce Game
The first ball will be thrown by the team that originally tossed the pallino. If that bocce ball
hits the back board, the ball is removed from the court and the team must roll again until they
have a ball in play. The other team throws until it beats (not ties) the opposing ball. This
continues until both teams have used all their balls. Whenever a team gets a ball closer, it
steps aside and lets the other team roll.
The team that scored last throws the pallino to begin the next frame. Consecutive or alternating
throws by teammates shall be at the option of the players. Players may use the side walls at any
time. If a player rolls the wrong color bocce ball, simply replace it with the correct color
when it comes to rest.
If a player rolls out of turn or plays more than two balls, the other team may leave all balls as
is or remove the illegal ball from the play and return all bocce balls to their approximate
Bocce Balls Hitting the Back Board
A ball hitting the back board without hitting any other ball first is dead and must be removed
from play. If it hits a ball and then the back board, all bocce balls are valid. If a thrown
bocce ball does not first touch another ball and hits the back board and then strikes a
stationary ball, that stationary ball shall be replaced to its approximate position. The thrown
ball is removed from play.
Balls Leaving the Court
If a bocce ball leaves the court, hits the fencing and falls back into the court it is dead and
should be removed from play. All objects touched by the ball after re-entering the court should
be replaced. If the pallino leaves the court, hits the fencing or rolls back past half court,
the frame is restarted.
Players may step on but not over the foul line before releasing the pallino or their bocce
Only one team scores in a frame. One point is given for each ball that is closer to the pallino
than the closest bocce ball of the opposing team. If at the end of any frame the closest bocce
ball of each team is at equal distance from the pallino, the ball that was thrown first gets the
point. Games are normally played to 12 or 15 points. The tournament host may change this
Pallino Hitting the Back Board
Once the pallino is in play, it remains in play even if it hits the back board during the game.
However, if the pallino is knocked out of the court, or is knocked in front of the centerline,
the frame will end and play will resume from the opposite end of the court, with the same team
tossing the pallino.
Measuring & Disputes
Team captains may measure any bocce balls at any time. All disputes will be resolved by the
Late Arrivals & Substitutions
A team not showing within ten minutes of the scheduled starting time, loses two points, and an
additional two points for each five minute increment thereafter. A team not showing up within
thirty minutes of the scheduled starting time forfeits the game.
A team missing players at the start of the game may play, however, each player may only roll two
bocce balls. (A player arriving late may enter a game, but only after the completion of the
game.) A team may make one substitution per game. Substitutions may only be made between
Bocce - The name of the game and also the name of the ball the
teams try to get close to the pallino.
Pallino - The small ball that is used as the target. Sometimes
referred to as the jack or pauline.
Punta - A point shot where a person rolls their bocce to get close
to the pallino.
Raffa - Also known as a spock or hit. It is where a player
attempts to knock either a bocce or the pallino out of position by throwing a ball hard at
Volo - Used mainly in international rules. A shot where the player
attempts to hit the target ball without contacting the ground first.
Open Rules - A common version of the game where the only
disallowed shot is when a bocce touches the back wall without touching any other balls on
the playing surface.
International Rules - A more complicated form of bocce where shots
must be called and stricter rules governing play are in effect. These rules are used in the
national and world championships.
Rule of Advantage - When an illegal play is called the other team
can decide whether to let the ball stay as it lies or put everything back to the way it was
before the illegal shot took place.
Brass Balls - A variation of bocce that uses hollow brass balls.
CBI - (Confederatione de Bocce Internacional) This is a major
governing body of bocce worldwide. They run the world championships of bocce.
USBF - (United States Bocce Federation) This is the major
governing body of bocce in the U.S. They run the national championships of bocce.
History of Bocce
Remember, You Don't Have to be Italian to Play Bocce
The Beginings of the Sport
Throwing an object toward a target is considered the oldest game known to mankind. Graphic
representations of the sport, recorded as early as 5200 B.C., have been found in Egypt and the
MiddleEast. While the game of Bocce today appears quite different from the ancient version, the
consistently common objective of trying to come as close as possible to a fixed target remains
intact. From this early objective, the basic rules of Bocce were born. The game made its way
from Egypt to Greece around 800 B.C. The version of the game resembling what we know as Bocce
today was refined by early Romans, who adopted the game from the Greeks and introduced it
throughout their empire. Beginning with Emperor Augustus, Bocce became the sport of statesman
and rulers. The Roman influence lives on today. The game's name, Bocce, is a derivative of the
Vulgate Latin bottia, which translates as "boss".
European history is filled with references to Bocce, both good and bad. The Greek physician
Ipocrates and Italian Renaissance man Galileo both noted that the game's athleticism and spirit
of competition rejuvenated the body and the mind. Somewhere, the claim arose that playing Bocce
had great therapeutic effect in curing rheumatism, and consequently the game enjoyed rapid
growth throughout Europe as the sport of nobility and peasants alike. As Bocce's popularity
grew, it began to threaten and interfere with the security of states. Kings Carlos IV and V of
Spain prohibited the playing of Bocce because it took too much time away from military
exercises. The Republic of Venice publicly condemned the sport in 1576, and punished players
with fines and imprisonment. Perhaps the gravest condemnation of Bocce came from the Catholic
Church, which officially prohibited clergy and deterred the laity from playing the game by
proclaiming Bocce a means of gambling. Contrary to the rest of Europe, British nobility such as
Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Francis Drake were avid players. According to lore, Sir Frances Drake
refused to set out to defend England against the Spanish Armada until he finished a game of
Bocce. He proclaimed, "First we finish the game, then we'll deal with the Armada!"
Bocce Comes to America
The sport first came to America with the English, with one early American playing field being
Bowling Green at the southern tip of Manhattan. Though George Washington built a court and
played regularly at Mount Vernon in the 1780s, the game did not flourish until turn of the
century Italian immigrants brought their enthusiasm for the sport with them to America. During
its beginnings in the U.S. there were many versions of the game. In 1947, fifteen teams in and
around the town of Rivoli (Torino) organized the first Bocce "club", first Italian League, and
the first of the yearly World Bocce Championships, bringing some order to the game. This idea of
"order" soon spread to the new world, though the game is still played by several different sets
of "regional rules" in the United States.