The Joy of Bocce Weekly
 In This Issue: Vol. I - Issue 33 
•   Notes from the publisher
•   Photos of the week
•   Readers’ Feedback
•   Bocce product of the week
•   The skills of the game – pallino pointers
•   Non bocce product of the week
 Notes from the publisher
The Joy of Bocce Weekly
The FREE weekly Ezine for bocce aficionados everywhere
Volume #1, Issue #33 August 26, 2002
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2002

Come visit us often at We have bocce info, merchandise, links to other great bocce sites, and the best selling bocce instructional book in the USA. - Order Now @ $12.95.


I hope you will like this electronic newsletter. To be deleted from my list, you can Unsubscribe at the end of this issue. One of our enthusiastic readers suggested that “…bocce and unsubscribe are mutually exclusive terms.” If you know others who would enjoy and benefit from this Ezine, encourage them to sign up. You could forward this issue to them so they can decide for themselves if they want to "opt in". I promise that I will never be in the business of selling or trading your email address or other personal information.

A word about ads: Like any entrepreneurial type, I'd love to turn a profit from something I really enjoy. For now, I have decided not to accept paid advertisements. If I pitch a product here, it is something I have examined and tested and deem it beneficial to our readers.

Archived copies of this newsletter?

I’m still trying to figure a way to archive back issues of The Joy of Bocce Weekly. I’m sure I can do it, but am not geared up for it just yet. For now, if you let me know which issue(s) you are looking for I’ll email it/them to you ASAP.

PLEASE – we are always looking for bocce photos and feedback from all over the USA. We want to connect bocce fans everywhere. You can email ( or snail mail (Mario Pagnoni, P.O. Box 608, Methuen, MA 01844).

 Readers’ Feedback
Readers’ Feedback {Publisher’s comments in brackets}

Self proclaimed "Bocce Bum" Ben Musolf sheds a little light on last week’s question about playing “cut-throat” with 3 players…

”We play cut-throat all the time. The rotation of play is as follows. First you determine who goes 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Then it is the same as regular bocce. Who ever is farthest away from the pallino goes. We play up to 30 points where the closest ball gets 3 pts, second gets 2 pts and the third gets 1 point. Therefore you can score up to 6 points in the round if you have the three closest. We only use three balls each though. Maybe this can be utilized around the country more thoroughly.”

{Thanks Ben. This clears up the rotation of play with three players. Whichever of the three is farthest away must roll the next ball. The scoring is unorthodox in several ways. Score three, two, and one points for the three closest balls instead of just one point each…and more than one player can score in a round – in fact all three could score…interesting. Now we’ll need a scoreboard to track three players’ totals. A final thought…we need a better term than “cut-throat” for this style of play.}


Tom Belluomini of San Bruno, California writes…
“Hello Mario. I wrote to you a week ago asking how and where I can purchase the "Resolver” measuring device. Can you help me?”

{The Resolver is a tape measure set atop a clear acrylic cube that fits over the pallino. The tape swivels 360 degrees and extends more than two meters. Some of the top players frown on the device claiming that it is not accurate enough for high level play. They reason that it is too difficult to center the cube over the pallino and this leads to inaccuracy. The truest measurement is “inside measure” using a device like the Premier Boule, Clubhawk Gold, or Henselite Bowls Measure. The reasoning may be true, but for most casual play this ingenious device is more than adequate. It is quick and easy and even makes it unlikely that you’ll inadvertently disturb the positions of balls while measuring. Many bocce players determine points using a tin can and string. This is far superior to that.

Created by Mike Paccione of Cresskill, New Jersey, the device was shelved for a while. Mike recently called to say that he is gearing up for production again and shooting for late September to re-issue the measure. You can contact him at to get more info or to get on his waiting list for the nifty device. He’ll have a website up and running shortly to promote the product.}


Lou Kastelic of Rockville, Maryland says…

“My bocce days began when I learned to walk. I was brought up in a Slovenian ghetto in the Cleveland area. As you probably know, Slovenians play a slightly varied version of bocce. The variation is mainly in scoring. We play with 6 or 8 balls and when all of your balls are closest the score is doubled. I had the pleasure of helping my Dad build the new courts at the Slovenian Hall of Maple Heights. My Dad hand carved the first set of balls used in our community when he came to this country from Slovenia, then Yugoslavia. I have for many years owned what I consider to be an authentic bocce set and my children and grandchildren and I play every chance we get. I'm happy to have been introduced to your Joy of Bocce site and hope it lives forever.”

{Thanks Lou, for the kind words about the Joy of Bocce. That set of bocce balls hand carved by Dad must be a treasure to you and your family. It sounds wonderful!

I’ve heard of this doubling of points when you get multiple balls closest to the pallino – play usually goes to a high score, like 21 or more.}


Phil Ferrari of The World Bocce Association announces the release of his new video, Bocce – My Way.

{The 20-minute film features Ferrari and former Miss Teen USA, Laura Siler (I’m guessing on the spelling of her name as the version I previewed had no credits) playing bocce on an outdoor court. Partly promotional and partly instructional, the video covers how to play the game, how to score, and features Ferrari demonstrating pointing, raffa, and volo techniques. It offers advertisers the chance to submit tape for their own “30 second commercial insert space”. For more info or to order Bocce – My Way, call Phil Ferrari at 1-800-OKBOCCE or contact him via his website at}


Frank Casillo of York Pennsylvania sent me a copy of an excellent newspaper article titled “Bocce on a Roll” by Peter Bothum that appeared recently in the York Daily Record. Here is an excerpt…for the complete article click the link below.

{Thanks, Frank for sending this along. Please follow Frank's lead in bringing good material from around the country to my attention so that we can share it via this ezine.}

Bocce on a Roll

“The game has been around since ancient Egypt. It recently has seen a resurgence.


Sean Orndorf positions himself in the center of the lane, feet parallel, eyes fixed on a target, then steps forward with one leg and rolls a ball with the slightest amount of backspin.
But Sean Orndorf isn’t bowling.
Minutes later, Erma Burg sees no clear shot with all the balls blocking the way, so she bounces her ball off the border of the playing area to get to her desired target.
But Erma Burg isn’t playing pool.
Actually, Orndorf, Burg and others in a league that gathers at Victor’s Italian Restaurant in York are playing bocce, a game so ancient that no one really knows where or how it got started…”

Read the entire article - "Bocce on a Roll"

 The skills of the game – pallino pointers
(For this brief discussion I refer to the object ball as pallino, jack, or target ball)

{Note and disclaimer – I am a not a world-class player. I just love to play and am a student of the game. My contribution has been in interviewing top players and assembling the information into a concise, easy-to-read book, The Joy of Bocce. If anyone has different views or additional tips on developing bocce skills, please REPLY so that I can get the word out here in The Joy of Bocce Weekly.}

Since I began this ezine I’ve paid close attention to the variations of play that I see as I travel the “bocce circuit.” I’ve noticed that many players start a frame by tossing the pallino rather willy-nilly, with an overhand, underhand, even between the legs or behind the back delivery. This is fine if you just want to get the round started and don’t care where the target ball ends up or how it got there. But at a more competitive level things get a little more cerebral. Having pallino advantage allows you to play to your team’s strength or to the opponents’ weakness. Similarly, you might be able to avoid the opponents’ strong suit. For example, if the other team plays exceptionally well on long rolls, try to place the object ball the minimum distance down court.

Roll the object ball in the same manner that you will roll your first bocce ball and from the same spot. Moreover, you should carefully track the pallino’s path, making note of any movement before it comes to rest. When you roll the jack you should have a bocce ball in your other hand so that you can keep the same foot placement and roll that ball exactly as you did the jack. If the target ball “fell” to the right as it rolled down the court, you can start your bocce ball out a little more left to compensate. {Note: some recommend that when a court’s surface has variations that influence the roll of a ball, players should move in the direction that the ball falls.}

I notice that in some areas they allow one person to roll the pallino and then a teammate to play the first ball. This makes no sense to me. The fewer the rules the better I like it, but we ought to mandate that whoever rolls the pallino has to roll the first ball too. I’ve even seen players who roll the jack then immediately roll their first ball before the jack comes to rest. They reason that this rapid fire play affords them the opportunity to apply “muscle memory” to release each ball with the same force and along the same line. This makes even less sense to me – what’s less than no sense, negative sense? I wonder what these players would do if their bocce ball hit the pallino before the object ball stopped?

Let the pallino come to rest, then try to establish the initial point by rolling your first ball as close as possible to that target – in front (a tad short) is always better than long and/or left or right. When the point is in front of the object ball it provides “nuisance value” as opponents have to negotiate around it and may inadvertently tap is closer to the pallino.

{Please REPLY with tips, comments, or criticism of these “pallino pointers”}

 Photos of the week

This week’s photos are courtesy of Tom Belluomini of San Bruno, California who built a bocce court in his parking strip. Here, in his own words, is a description excerpted from his excellent e-mail…

“I bought a badly overgrown property in the middle of town that has taken some 8 1/2 years to tame. The process was getting long and I needed some fun to help numb the pains. I was exposed to bocce in Italy some 35 plus odd years ago, later petanque in France as an adult, and felt that I needed something "community" oriented after 9-11. Half of the public right of way in front of my home was parking and the rest was lawn. Perfect location for a 60 x 12 foot court. I tried to pay the city planning department several times for a permit but they refused my money saying I didn't need one for this application since I owned all of the affected adjacent property. One planner suggested it was a great use of public access. I border a commercial district and across my alley is a deli which draws quite a crowd. I would guess 150 to 200 people drive by daily and 5 to 10 car loads stop and ask about the game every week. Pedestrians stop frequently. Because of the proximity to the street we cannot afford many volo shots but still enjoy most aspects of the game. A street light at one end of the court and my work lights at the other allow us to play all night so long as we don't argue loudly about the game. Occasionally I am out and a car will drive up and people will ask to play. I figure I have taught several hundred people the principles of the game in the few months the court has been in. Now people drive by daily and yell, ‘Bocce, Bocce Anyone?’

I am taking my family through the wine country, bay area, and then over to Los Gatos to see their new courts. We look forward to seeing how other folks on the west coast are handling the climatic changes. Also Bellingham has recently purchased land to build multiple and various sports fields and I am trying to rally the local seniors to help me pressure the Parks Dept. to build a few year around covered courts.

The one thing I have come to learn about Bocce is that it is all about community... At a time when we know fewer of our neighbors because we tend to go inside and close our blinds, I decided to stand out front of my home and say,’hello neighbors’. I hope to sponsor Bellingham’s first public tournament next summer. Could you ask your readers about movable courts? I want to examine building court kits so we could take tournament play to communities that may not otherwise have enough adjacent courts to sponsor such events...What do you think?

Bocce is Good !


{Wow! This is as good a condensed argument for promoting bocce as I have ever heard. Tom’s eloquent comments about bocce and community should be brought to the attention of city planners and community developers everywhere. And his “curb-side bocce” is just about the neatest thing I’ve heard about since I started this ezine. If you are anywhere near him out there on the “Left Coast” I’d suggest dropping by to see his court and to congratulate him on his good work. People who do good things and run beneficial programs should get patted on the back by those who recognize the excellent contribution they are making. Tom sounds like someone I’d definitely like to meet!

Does any reader have any info on the movable courts that Tom asks about in his last paragraph? I used a simple one with local high school kids that is just planks lashed together via some hardware (using nuts, bolts, and a ratchet set). We set the court down on the fieldhouse’s poured rubber floor which played too fast – seemed like a friction-less surface. Later we purchased a long, narrow carpet that we laid down first. This worked out, but took a bit too long to set up and break down, and the school refused to keep the court on campus because of a storage space crunch. The boards are now gathering dust tucked away in the crawlspace under my family room.

The ideal solution would be a court that is light-weight and durable and that could be assembled quickly without hardware. Any ideas? Please REPLY.

To get our weekly New England winter bocce fix we lay 6” by 6” eight-foot timbers down on the Astro-Turf surface at a local baseball/softball training center. This creates a temporary, movable 72’ by 12’ foot court. This court is durable and assembled relatively quickly without hardware, but is hardly light-weight!}

{Please send bocce photos from different areas of the USA. The Joy of Bocce Weekly features too many photos from the East - need pics from the "left coast" and the South & Mid-America too. I'd love to post them here on "This Week's Photos."}

Check out this week's pics

 Bocce product of the week
The Henselite Measure is a small metal telescopic device not much bigger than a ball point pen. The measure is approximately 6 inches when closed but extends to a full meter. It is an ingeniously devised tool for inside measurement. People send me many photos of bocce players measuring for points with various tape measures. Usually they are holding one end of the tape at the pallino, then extending the tape over the top center of the ball being measured (or vice-versa). This is okay to get a general idea of which ball is closer, but for accuracy you need inside measure. Place the tape measure between the object ball and bocce ball and see how much tape needs to be extended between the two. The Henselite is designed for inside measure and for close ones at that (a meter or less). The player or referee first estimates the distance between the pallino and the two bocce balls to be compared. Then, he extends the appropriate telescopic sections to a length slightly less than that estimate. Next, he places the device between the pallino and one of the balls in question and extends it until it almost touches both balls. The head of the tool is equipped with a screw-top mechanism. Turning the top in one direction lengthens the tool, while winding in the opposite direction shortens it. This fine tuning makes for very precise measuring. Finally, the measurer places the device between the pallino and the other ball and compares. Caution - a careless person might easily disturb the positions of balls being measured.

This nifty device fits in and clips on your shirt pocket. It even has calipers for checking those really close points. It is the perfect gift for the bocce aficionado in your life. Like our other measures, it retails for 19.95 plus shipping.

See more info about the Henselite Bowls Measure

 Non bocce product of the week
Need an affordable web site for your business or hobby?

Yes, I am a website broker and I can offer you a website software package that puts you in control of your website even without programming skills. These websites are perfect for small to mid-size businesses or hobbyists. My was built with this package. I can build your site very quickly and then show you how to maintain it with simple "point and click" technology. So, whenever you have to make a change, run a special, offer a holiday sale, etc., you can handle it yourself without having to wait for a programmer to fit you into his/her schedule and without having to pay for the changes (which can be $50 to $100 per hour with a minimum charge of 1 hour). My sites include a Contact Manager so you can collect and manage your customers' email addresses and other info, automatic search engine submission technology (which you should do about every five weeks), statistical tracking to analyze how many people visit your site and when, and a toll-free number for tech support 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM Pacific Coast Time. Check out my favorite site that I built with this technology - I built it in the name of my friend Ken Waldie who was a passenger on the ill-fated American Airlines Flight 11 that hit the World Trade Center on 9/11/01. You can see what kind of work we can do with this package. Anyway, you can read about my friend Ken and the Senior Sports Circuit that we established in his honor (we offer softball, basketball, and bocce for anyone age 50 and over - we let people slide on the age restriction for bocce, where physical prowess is not a prerequisite for success).

NOTE: I like to create no more than one site per month. Hey, I'm a retired guy...a network marketer who spends a lot of time playing softball, basketball, and bocce. I really don't want to work on a whole lot of websites. But I do enjoy cranking one out every month or so. So, if you are interested, hurry and hit REPLY and give me the basics for your site - name, address, slogan, pertinent info, etc. and I'll get your site up and running quickly (in a day or two) and show you (via email and/or phone) how you can alter it to your liking. It will stay on the web for 15 days at no charge. If you don't want it, it will be shut down on day 16. If you want to keep it, you'll have to activate it by entering your credit card data at the link that says Activate Site. The cost will depend on the site's complexity and how much of the customizing you are willing to do on your own.

Check out my favorite site - created by yours truly

Merchandise still available at

Check out the first-rate equipment we offer. The finest measuring devices for bocce (made in UK by Prohawk for lawn bowling, petanque, and bocce) - the finest bocce balls in the world (made in Italy by Perfetta) and the number one selling instructional book on bocce in America - Check them out.
 Check out the merchandise