2007 Bocce by the Beach

History of Bocce
Throwing balls toward a target is the oldest game known to mankind. As early as 5000 B.C. the Egyptians played a form of bocce with polished rocks. From Egypt the game made its way to Greece around 800 B.C. The Romans learned the game from the Greeks, then introduced it throughout their empire.

Different versions of this Roman game evolved over the centuries. In France, the game became known as boules. In Italy the game evolved into bocce or boccia. A different form of the sport became known in England as lawn bowls. It was thanks to European immigrants that bocce, lawn bowling and to a lesser extent boules came to flourish in North America during the twentieth century.

Although many variations of this game exist, 4 distinct styles are most common today: Volo (Lyonnaise), Petanque, Lawn Bowls, and Raffa (Punto, Raffa e Volo). It is Raffa that Canadians and Americans most often associate with the game of bocce. When we speak of bocce we are referring to an open style of Raffa.


Rules of Play
Due to its long history and international appeal there are endless variations of how the game of bocce is played. Some of the notable variations include:

  • Surface: Grass, Clay, Sand, Snow
  • Court Layout: w/ Backboard vs. w/o Backboard vs. No Court
  • Court Size
  • Points in a Game
  • Size and Weight of the Ball
  • Ball Composition: Metal vs. Resin
  • Styles of Throwing

Each of the 4 main styles that have developed has its own international association with formal rules on how tournament play is to be conducted. International regulation Raffa rules are very stringent and require a specific style of court.

As the vast majority of Canadian and American players enjoy bocce as a recreational game, we think it makes sense to promote it as such. We therefore invite you to take a look at the Bocce.ca rules as we think they offer a more flexible and fun approach to the game.

Bocce.Ca | Rules of Play
Calling the Shot:
For a ‘trick’ shot, the thrower of the pallino (small white ball) MUST call the shot. Example: ‘the ball must go off the obstacle (tree) or it must go over the obstacle (log).’ All the following balls must use the same route. However if the player throwing the pallino does not call the shot the following players may use any route to get their balls closest.

Turns of Play:

  • After the first player throws the pallino and their first ball, they step aside and his team does not roll again until the opposing team has either gotten one of its bocce balls closer to the pallino or has thrown all of its balls.
  • The team that scores last throws the pallino to begin the next frame.
  • Each player must play 2 balls each (no specified order).


  • Only the "inside" team scores.
  • One point is given for each ball of the inside team that is closer to the pallino than any ball of the opposing team and a 2 point bonus is given for any balls TOUCHING the pallino.
  • The team who is first to reach 12 points wins the game.

All measurements should be made from the inside dimensions of the bocce ball to the inside dimension of the pallino.

Official Rules
Confederazione Boccistica Internazionale (Raffa-Bocce)
United States Bocce Federation Open
Rules (Raffa-Bocce)Federation Internationale de Boules (Volo)
Federation International de Petanque et Jeu Provencal (Petanque)