History of Bocce-

Throwing balls toward a fixed target is the oldest game known to mankind, dating centuries old. The first record of a Bocce game was found as early as 5200 B.C. in a painting located in an Egyptian tomb showing images of figures tossing a ball or polished stone.

By 800 B.C. the game made its way to Greece. From there the Romans learned the game and introduced it to what is now modern Italy. European immigrants are responsible for spreading the game of Bocce around the globe. The name has many different spellings, including boccia, boccie, bocci and comes from the Latin word bottia. Here in Burke County, the Waldensian men brought the love of the sport with them when coming to Valdese in 1893, often playing on packed dirt courts.

The game is played on a variety of surfaces from grass, dirt, sand, clay, artificial turf or more traditional surfaces of limestone dust or crushed oyster shells. Today the sport is kept alive by the Valdese citizens playing for pleasure and competition on many courts located around the community. It is a great game of thought and strategy that brings families and friends of all ages together.

Bocce Rules & How to Play-

The object of Bocce is to score the most points by ending each round with your team’s Bocce balls closest to the pallino (target ball).  Bocce is played with 2 teams either comprised of one, two, or four players.

Pallino Throw

Begin the match by a coin toss, the winner has the first toss of the pallino. The pallino is thrown underhand from behind the pointing foul line and must end up across the center line at least 12 inches away from the sideboards or backboard without hitting the backboard.

Bocce Ball Throws

The initial pallino thrower always throws the first bocce ball trying to have it land as close to the pallino as possible. All balls are thrown underhand.  If the first ball hits the backboard without hitting the pallino first, the ball is removed and the team throws again until they have a ball in play.  The opposing team goes next, throwing their Bocce balls until all have been thrown or one of their Bocce balls ends up closer to the pallino than the first team’s. The team whose Bocce balls are closest to the pallino is called “inside” and the opposing team “outside.” When a team gets inside it steps aside and lets the outside team roll.  The team outside throws until it beats, not ties, the opposing ball.


The score is taken after all 8 balls have been played and measured.  One point is awarded for each ball of a team that is closer to the pallino than the opponent’s closest ball (1 to 4 points). The team that scores in the last frame throws the pallino in the next game and play continues. If each team’s closest balls are tied, no score is made and play continues at the opposite end with the team scoring the point(s) in the previous frame delivering the pallino.

The team that first scores 12 points, wins the game.

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