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Bocce (sometimes anglicized as bocci or boccie)[1][2][3][4][5] is a ball sport belonging to the boules sport family, closely related to bowls and pétanque with a common ancestry from ancient games played in the Roman Empire. Developed into its present form in Italy (where it is called Bocce, the plural of the Italian word boccia which means "ball"), it is played around Europe and also in overseas areas that have received Italian migrants, including Australia, North America and South America (where it is known as bochas; bolas criollas in Venezuela, bocha (the sport) in Brazil), initially amongst the migrants themselves but slowly becoming more popular with their descendants and the wider community. The sport is also very popular in Slovenia (known as balinanje[6]). In Southern France the sport is also popular and known as Boule Lyonnaise.


Rules and play

Bocce is typically played on natural soil today, but traditionally and historically was played on diatomaceous earth over a sand/clay base. The court dimensions are typically 27 meters in length and 2.5 to 4 meters wide.[7] Bocce balls can be made of metal[8] or various kinds of plastic. Unlike lawn bowls, bocce balls are spherical and have no inbuilt bias.

A game can be conducted between two players, or two teams of two, three, or four. A match is started by a randomly chosen side being given the opportunity to throw a smaller ball, the jack (called a boccino, or a pallino in some areas), from one end of the court into a zone 5 meters in length, ending 2.5 meters from the far end of the court. If they miss twice, the other team is awarded the opportunity to place the jack anywhere they choose within the prescribed zone.

The side that first attempted to place the jack is given the opportunity to bowl first. Once the first bowl has taken place, the other side has the opportunity to bowl. From then on, the side which does not have the ball closest to the jack has a chance to bowl, up until one side or the other has used their four balls. At that point, the other side bowls its remaining balls. The team with the closest ball to the jack is the only team that can score points in any frame. The scoring team receives one point for each of their balls that is closer to the jack than the closest ball of the other team. The length of a game varies by region, but is typically from 7 to 13 points.[9]

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