May 30, 2007

During our Memorial Day bar-be-que, the men gathered in a corner of the yard for a game of bocce. I love this game. Actually, I really know very little about this game, but I think the equipment is probably the most beautiful of any sport, and therefore I’m a big fan.

I was first introduced to the game under the name petanque by my brother-in-law Mark Sabey. He walked into the yard with a worn bucket full of heavy, etched, metal spheres and I quickly made a mental note that petanque ownership was a must.

After the initial introduction, I started seeing bocce sets all over the place and eventually figured out they were the same thing.
From what I understand, bocce is the Italian name for the game, and petanque is the French name. (If there are other big differences and I’m making a big sport faux-pas here, my apologies.)

This is a perfect yard game. Great for all ages. Easy to involve kids. You kind of meander around the yard as you play which is lovely. You can find sets pretty much anywhere. Target, ebay, Costco. But I’ve never seen one quite as wonderful as the aged one that captured my heart initially.

The amazing photo of the petanque player is from Someday Somewhere. Aren’t those colors fabulous? The bocce set image is from Business Week.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 BeachysCapeCodCupboard May 30, 2007 at 8:21 am

I’ve heard of bocce ball, and I’ve seen them, but never quite really understood how it was played. My brother and I did enjoy the occasional game of croquet when we were little. There’s something so relaxing about those old yard games!


2 daisy May 30, 2007 at 9:36 am

It’s a great game. I’m all about competition…and a few simple balls and actually any size yard is all you need. Oh and people to play. Lots of fun!


3 Kristy May 30, 2007 at 9:42 am

Bocce is the best, it’s a huge italian thing, so we grew up playing it after every meal with my grandpa, but beware they leave an enormous goose egg when hurled at someone’s head. My nephew threw one at my son at a b-day party, and I swear he grew a 2nd head. IT is a great FHE game, we do it all the time!


4 Terina May 30, 2007 at 12:03 pm

the best is watching old french men play it. i could do that for a whole day!


5 Michelle May 30, 2007 at 1:04 pm

We play this at most family get togethers- what’s great is that all age groups can play.


6 Moesha May 30, 2007 at 2:00 pm

I love this game. It’s awesome. You might want to try Kubb – It’s a swedish game as well. It’s a lot of fun. Great sites in America so you can save some money.


7 pepper May 30, 2007 at 2:17 pm

They really are beautiful sets and it is also a fun game anyone can play.


8 Elizabeth May 30, 2007 at 4:47 pm

My favorite thing to do in Italy is watch the old men play bocce and take pictures. We brought our first back with us from there as children. It is still a family favorite.


9 Josh May 30, 2007 at 6:11 pm

I second the comments about the italian old man who play it in the piazzi of Italy. A group of distinguished old men, in three piece suits, the sun setting behind them as the toss the bocce balls. Beautiful!


10 Kristi May 30, 2007 at 11:57 pm

I learned how to play this game from my brother-in-law and it really is so much fun! We really enjoy playing it at family gatherings. It’s a great game!


11 Mandi May 31, 2007 at 10:53 am

It’s a great game – so simple yet addictive.


12 November 20, 2007 at 5:51 pm

Petanque is the Franco-Provenzale version.
Other 2 are the classic “Raffa” and another version named “Volo”.
In Italy about 4-5 millions (at the 2nd place after soccer) of people play bocce.
But many others think that is a stupid game, to me is very cool, I restart to play it (Raffa version)after 14 years and I like it more than before.
All apologies for my english, I hope you understand me.
For any question, mail me.
Bye all.


13 Jason Del Vicario January 19, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Hey there… I just came across your thread. If you love bocce, you’ll love our site: More importantly those ‘pretty’ balls you reference are in fact ‘made in China’ crappy Sportscraft balls. The best balls money can buy are the ‘made in Italy’ Perfetta sets. We sell them at:
Happy bocce to you and yours, Jason.


14 Kim October 18, 2009 at 10:29 pm

I had a great time summer playing bocce with lighted glo balls. We played in the dark at our campground. These aren't the italian balls mentioned in a previous comment, but they are great fun. You can get them and the really nice italian balls at


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