|Bocce is historically known to be a game which stimulates the
mind and the body and a game which brings together friends. It has been played
throughout Europe for well over 3000 years and is just now becoming popular in
the United States.
The earliest known record of a game similar to bocce (also spelled bocci or boccie) was in a painting of two boys throwing stones, which was found in an Egyptian tomb and dated back to 5200 B.C. Some of the next known instances of bocce occurred in Greece during the sixth century B.C. It somehow found its way into the lives of early Romans who initially used coconuts brought from Africa, but who then began carving bocce balls out of hard olive wood.
Roman soldiers played the game between battles during Rome's Punic Wars against Carthage, which started in 264 B.C. They probably introduced the game throughout the Roman Empire. The game spread rapidly throughout Europe and became a game of peasants and nobility alike.
|It is difficult to say when and where bocce was actually legal, but it continued
to be a tradition to the Italians. The Italian immigrants are said to be the main source for the introduction of bocce into the U.S., although the English were also avid players of some form of the game.
Bocce became popular in California in the 1970s and 1980s, and ever since has been well-known in the United States. There are now more than 25 million people in the U.S. who have played some form of bocce. It is now a part of the World Corporate Games, an event in the Special Olympics, and is being proposed to be in the Olympics.
Throughout the centuries, innumerable variations of bocce have been played in streets, on beaches, in alleys, and on front lawns. Bocce has seen many rule changes. Although there are attempts to create a more formal set of rules, its versatility may be part of its attraction. Easily adapted to the young and old, kids bocce sets and professional bocce sets are available. Bocce is a sport of intellect, surprise, and friendship, and will not easily be lost to the ages.