Are you up for a game of bocce?
It's believed that the ancient Egyptians, as early as 5000 BC, polished rocks and rolled them to targets and began to create the basic rules of bocce. The game bocce then made its way to Greece around 600 BC. The Greeks later brought it to Rome where people of all classes played it. Emperor Augustus who ruled when Christ was born, proclaimed bocce the sport of statesman and helped to spread the game throughout the Roman Empire. The Romans elevated bocce from the rock age to rolling imported coconuts from Africa. They later carved balls out of African olive wood. Bocce's popularity spread throughout Europe in the 1500s.
Bocce was played everywhere from churches to castles to city streets. People from all walks of life could and did play. However, it wasn’t always a smooth ride for the game of bocce. Bocce ball was prohibited to people of lesser nobility. In 1702, the Catholic Church banned bocce for encouraging gambling and prohibited priests from playing. King Carlos of Spain banned bocce in the 1700s because he felt it interfered with military exercises like archery practice. The first bocce Olympics was held in Athens, Greece in 1896 and has been a part of international sports ever since.
European settlers brought bocce to the New World, and George Washington even built a court at Mount Vernon in the 1780s. In the early 20th Century the flood of Italian immigrants to America gave bocce its biggest boost in the US. 3. It is commonly thought that the Italians invented bocce ball, but as it turns out the Egyptians developed it and the Romans spread it throughout their empire.
Do you love bocce ball? We’d love to hear about it, so please comment below. If you have always been curious about the game, here’s a fun little video from Mario Lopez and his family on how to play. We’d love for you to relax with a game of Bocce after visiting the Automation Fair® at our hospitality event and see if you can bocce (kiss) the pallina.