Why Italy is racing to save the game of bocce

Oct 12, 2017 429

BY: Marco Ferrarese

“Piia na cadreia e setat su a vardà.” Battista Valenti greeted me, but I didn’t understand a word he was saying. His Italian was harsher than what I’m used to; he stretched his syllables, which rolled off his tongue with a twang. The energetic, silver-haired 70-year-old was speaking the dialect of Cornale, his native village in southern Lombardy, a region of northern Italy. A week ago, Valenti, a friend of my father, had invited me to Cornale's Centro Sportivo (Sports Centre) to watch a game of bocce, Italy's own version of lawn bowls.

“Trust me,” he said. “Watching a bocce game is like doing anthropological research. We even have our own language.” Until the mid-20th Century, small Italian villages like Cornale were self-sustaining centres that had everything they needed, from mills to make bread to shops to build and fix bicycles. Each village ‒ including my hometown of Voghera, located 10km south-west of Cornale ‒ also forged its own distinct dialect.

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SOURCE: http://www.bbc.com

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