Games Italians Play: The History of Bocce

Sep 08, 2016 818

You can think of modern bowling as a distant cousin of bocce. In England, they have "bowls", a lawn version of the game using a flattened ball which is rolled like a wheel (bocce balls are always spherical). The Latin word bottia (ball) is the root of the Italian word boccia or Bocce.

Latin also used the word boulles (balls), hence the name bowls for the British form of the game, and in France the game of Boules. The name pétanque is also used in Provence in the South of France. The word pétanque is derived from a Southern dialect of French meaning "two feet planted", describing the position of feet before tossing the ball. Italian balls are solid and made of wood or a composite and sometimes metal. French boules are made of hollow metal.

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