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Consiglio's Bocce Guide | History, Rules and How to Play

Consiglio's Bocce Guide | History, Rules and How to Play

With spring right around the corner, its time to get outside and enjoy the nicer weather - and for us here at Consiglio's that means bocce! Check out our guide to bocce, with a brief history of the game, basic rules and how-to-play.

Bocce - a Brief History

A ball sport in the boules family, Bocce is an Italian game that closely resembles (and has similar roots to) the British bowl and French game of pétanque. Having evolved from games and sport common in the ancient Roman Empire, Bocce is now widely played not only in its home of Italy, but across Europe and into both Australia and North America - shared by Italian migrants, and spreading into surrounding communities.

A game as easily adapted to casual playing amongst friends as it is more competitive tournament sport, bocce can be played on natural soil, asphalt or turf courts as well as beach sand or lawns. In more formal and competitive settings, the bocce court will be fenced in by a small border, containing the area of play, outlining penalty zones and providing a solid surface for banking or bouncing the bocce balls as an element of the game play.

Bocce - Rules and How to Play

The Equipment: Bocce ball sets consist of eight bocce balls, divided by colour into two sets of four - giving each player or team four playable balls. A smaller ball, known as the pallino or jack, is shared by both teams, and is the center of the game’s mechanics and scoring system.

The Game: A game of Bocce begins by determining which player, or team, will go first - this is typically done by flipping a coin, though any method (ex. rock, paper, scissors) will suffice.

The first player begins the game by tossing or rolling the pallino (or jack) down the court - this becomes the target for all following balls. The first player continues by playing one of their balls, with the goal of getting it as close to the pallino as possible - this will end the first turn, and it becomes the second player’s turn.

The second player will then play one of their balls, again with the goal of getting it as close to the pallino as possible. The second player’s turn will continue until (1) they get a ball closer to the pallino than the opposing team, or (2) they play all of their balls - once either occurs, the turn ends and it becomes the other player’s turn to play.

It is always the turn of the team who is furthest away from the pallino.

To break it down a little bit more clearly:

1. Team A puts pallino into play, and rolls one ball.

2. Team B plays one ball. If it rests closer to the pallino than Team A’s ball, the turn ends and it becomes Team A’s turn to play. If it rests further from the pallino than Team A’s ball, Team B gets to play again.

3. Once both teams have played all four balls, the frame is over, and it is time for scoring.


Once all balls have been played, scoring for the frame is determined. The player or team with the ball closest to the pallino gets a point. For every additional ball closer to the pallino than the opposing player, a point is awarded.

In the example on the left, the red team scores one (1) point only - no additional points are scored because the opponent's blue ball is the next closest to the pallino.

Perfetta Bocce Balls

Italian made, with over 30 years of experience, the Perfetta Bocce Ball set is ideal, whether you are interested in a casual game of bocce in the back yard, are lucky enough to play in a community bocce league, or have honed your skills to the point of competing in a bocce tournament. Official tournament weight and size, each bocce ball is 107mm in diameter and individually laser engraved; the pallino is regulation 50mm size. Complete with a durable nylon bag, the Perfetta Bocce Ball set is ready to go wherever you and your bocce game are!

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