The Joy of Bocce Weekly
 In This Issue: Vol. II, Issue 16 - April 21, 2003 
•   Notes from the publisher
•   Photos of the week
•   Chronicles from Italy: A Review of an Ancient Game
•   Non bocce product of the week
•   Bocce product of the week
•   Tournament update
 Notes from the publisher
The Joy of Bocce Weekly
The FREE weekly Ezine for bocce aficionados everywhere
Volume 2, Issue #16 April 21, 2003
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2003

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 Chronicles from Italy: A Review of an Ancient Game
Jim Vaughan of Coronado, California was kind enough to send a copy of, and permission to reprint, his excellent article published in the Bargetto Wine Club’s newsletter. Excerpts follow – thanks to the Bargetto Wine Club, 3535 North Main St., Soquel, CA 95073 (see link to Bargetto web site below, or click on image to the right).

After visiting the hometown of the Bargetto family in Northern Italy, Vaughan came away with a newfound respect for bocce.

“What first attracted me to this ancient ball-to-target game was that virtually anybody could play – not only participate, but conceivably compete for the championship. A self-proclaimed non-athlete has a chance to be a legitimate contender. By the end of the day, a novice could be the equivalent of a 12 handicapper in golf. In contrast, a former athletic type could experience a nostalgic rush of adrenaline.”

Influenced by Bay Area Bocce Icon John Magnetti’s mantra of spreading the bocce word to the masses rather than hoarding it in private clubs, Vaughan was encouraged to “take the game on the road.”

“The last few years I have been introducing Bargetto wines to buyers and wine consumers with bocce as the sporting background. Some of the wine & bocce venues were on the traditional surface, while others were improvised. For instance, we played on the carpet of a French bistro in Singapore, a putting green on the island of Kauai, inside a warehouse in Seattle and alongside horse stables in Tucson.

The fusion of wine tasting, food, music and a relaxing (often very competitive) bocce tournament creates an appealing social dynamic.”

Vaughan’s bocce entourage began asking him more questions about the game (especially about its history) than about the wines. His research lead him to Storia Delle Bocce In Italia E Nel Mondo (The Story of Bocce in Italy and the World). Published in Italian by Signor Daniele Di Chiara, this three-volume set took the author thirty years to complete.

“The historical trilogy, however, isn’t available for purchase. The effort was primarily for the love and prosperity of the game. Copies were sent to affiliate bocce organizations around the world including: Canada, Argentina, China, Australia and the United States.”

Di Chiara discusses the evolution of the game, acknowledging the “…murky anecdotal evidence…” that surrounds its origin.

Following bocce through time, the author cites more conclusive evidence in the well preserved ruins of Pompeii (destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D.).

“Inside one room was nine spherical stones, all perfectly round. One of the stones was considerably smaller, the target ball. This room became known as Bocciodromo (The Bocce Room).”

It is common belief that Greek colonists introduced bocce to the Roman Legions. Di Chiara explains, “The Romans developed a better quality of the game of bocce. They took it from simple manifestation of force to proof of ability. Not a matter of distance but how the stone would make the other one move.”

According to Vaughan “The Greeks were shot putting, and the Romans gave it a degree of skill and wit. This version was introduced as the Legions marched, conquered and expanded the Roman Empire. It was not only popular with the soldiers during their free time, but enjoyed by local artists, the noble elite, politicians and the common citizenry.

By the Middle Ages, most European countries were playing some form of bocce (also referred to as ‘boules’). To this day, France and England have the closest cousins to bocce: petanque and lawn bowling.”

Vaughan concludes that “Daniele Di Chiara and his team of editors and researchers have truly captured the passionate spirit of the ancient game.” Jim Vaughan’s well written review of the text captures that spirit equally as well. Many thanks to him for bringing this entertaining history lesson to our attention.

MUST SEE for wine lovers - Bargetto web site

 Bocce product of the week
Lute/scarifier for court maintenance

In addition to the wonderful 7-foot drag brush featured in recent JOB Weekly issues, I’ve decided to add a handy, light-weight metal rake-like tool called a lute/scarifier to my list of bocce court maintenance tools. {As a bonus for us New Englanders, I was glad to discover that it can double as a snow rake to prevent ice dams on the roof. It came in handy this winter as I battled the ice dam problem.}

This strangely named 30” wide device is actually two implements in one. It is an all-aluminum combination tool for scarifying, leveling, and removing loose court material.

Strong and sturdy, the tool is light enough to handle with ease and is excellent for spreading new material during top-dressing. The concave shape of the 30” wide blade allows the tool to “float” along the surface without digging in. Use the serrated edge to scrape material from high spots, then flip the tool over to rake and smooth that spot and drag the loose material to fill in a lower point.

Retails for $50.95 plus shipping. The lute/scarifier and 7-foot drag brush (see the Merchandise link at should be all the maintenance tools a bocce court owner needs.

 Photos of the week
This week’s pics come courtesy of Willie & Gloria Itzkowitz of Brooklyn, NY.

They showcase three nicely maintained courts located in Brooklyn's Marine Park Bocce Club.

The courts feature attractive perimeter fencing, a canopy structure at each end, and lights for night play.

Gloria reports that "The newer court (of the three) has been there for about two or three years. The courts were built by the Parks Dept. but are maintained by the Marine Park Bocce Club. Surface material is Har-Tru - the older ones are made of clay and dirt."

{Thanks to Gloria and Willie for sending these excellent photos - people like them make it possible for me to display new pictures every week - please follow their lead.

Please send photos. The Joy of Bocce Weekly tries to feature photos from all over the country and from other countries too. I'd love to post your pictures here as "This Week's Photos."}

View Photos of Bocce in Brooklyn

 Non bocce product of the week
{Hey, bocce's great, but I'm always on the look-out for all kinds of good products for my readers}

The buzz word today in health and nutrition is ANTI-OXIDANT. Everyone seems to agree that we need to increase our consumption of antioxidant nutrients to improve our health and vitality. OPC-3 is an extremely powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation in the joints and has produced good results with the symptoms of arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, allergies, asthma, and a laundry list of illnesses making the product sound like a snake oil that's "good for anything that ails you."

This powerful substance composed of natural substances like extracts from grape seed, red wine, and pine bark, does two major things in the body - improves circulation and boosts immunity. The reason the product can impact so many health issues is because so many maladies can be traced to poor circulation and low immunity.

In addition, this product is in what is termed an "isotonic state." It is basically in the same composition as your body fluids. Therefore it need not be digested, but can pass directly into the small intestine and the blood stream. It is what nutritionists call bio-available, not like pills and tablets which are poorly assimilated by the body.

Click the link below to get more info...

More details on the isotonic delivery system

 Tournament update
{chronological order}

Please - anyone running a tournament - do me a favor - put a notice near your tourney bracket board informing players that they can go to and "opt in" for my FREE Ezine on bocce. Click the link below or the logo to the right to opt in if you do not already receive this ezine every Monday.

April 26, 2003 - Three Person Volo, Waterloo Gun and Bocci Club, Stockton, CA, Volo Rules, Contact David Canclini (209) 957-3314 or

April 26, 2003 - 1st Annual Long Island Bocce Club Spring Fling - 4 player Team - Single Elimination - Milldam Park, Huntington New York - Cost: $100.00 Team - Honorarium Awards for both Teams in the finals and Best Team. Contact: or email

April 26, 2003 – Bellingham Bay Bocce Tournament, Bellingham, WA. Contact Tom McNutt at (view more tourney info at that site).

April 27, 2003 – Downey Bocce Club (Downey, California) Charity Tournament for St. Jude. Held at the Apollo Park Senior Center – corner of Rives and Quill. Looking for 16 teams. Contact John Fiorenza at 562-927-2490 or email Entry fee is $100 – four players on a team. “GOOD PRIZE MONEY AVAILABLE.”

May, 2003 – Herrin Festa Italiano Superball Championships, Herrin, IL.

May 17, 2003 – 2nd annual Ken Waldie Senior Sports Circuit bocce tournament. Indoors at Home Run Park, Lawrence, Mass. Four-person teams - $80 entry fee. Contact Mario Pagnoni @

May 24, 2003 - Memorial Team Handicap, Moses Lake, WA. Open Course bocce tourney. Limited spots available. Contact Jeff at

June 8-15, 2003 - United States National Bocce Tournament - Highwood Bocce Courts, Highwood, IL - winners will compete in the WORLD COMPETITION in SWITZERLAND. Contact Mike Conti @ 847-692-6223.

July 11-13, 2003 Bocce Classic IX Tournament, John Pirelli Lodge, 2625 County Line Road, Dayton Ohio, contact

July 18 – 20, 2003 - World Series of Bocce held in Rome, NY. Big event played on 15 courts - 6 Indoor and 9 Outdoor. Close to $15,000 in prize money. First place around $5,000. Contact Dave Hilts @

July 26, 2003 - 1st annual Backyard Bocce/ Italian Community Center Bocce Tournament - McKinley Park, Milwaukee. The entrance fee = $100 per team (or $25 per team member). Hoping for at least 50 teams. All proceeds go to Special Olympics Wisconsin.

August 9 2003 - Mich. State Bocce Championship, Sylvan Lake, Michigan 3 players per team 2 bocce balls each. Round robin format. $200.00 per team. 1 alternate recommended. Open rules. $2000.00 in prize money, trophies and medals.

September 21, 2003 – Sunshine Village Universal Bocce Bowl, Szot Park, Chicopee, Mass. Four player teams - $200 entry fee – includes t-shirt, lunch & dinner. Limited # of teams – 1st place = $600, 2nd place = $300, 3rd place = $200. Contact Rico Daniele @ 1-800-BOCCE54.

November 1st, 2003 - Third Annual Big Ben Invitational - 2 person Punto, Raffa, Volo - International rules, two person teams - three balls each. Price not yet determined, big money potential. Contact Ben Musolf - Campo di Bocce 408.395.7650.


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