The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VII, Issue 45 - December 29, 2008 
•   Notes from the publisher
•   Bocce product of the week
•   Bocce news & readers' feedback
•   Non bocce product of the week
•   Photos of the week
•   Tournament update
Notes from the publisher
The weekly Ezine for bocce aficionados everywhere
Volume 7, Issue #45 - December 29, 2008
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2008
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hi gang and Happy New Year,

In the next issue I'll attempt my annual "The Bocce Year In Review." Imagine...2009 will begin The Joy of Bocce Weekly's 8th year. Who woulda thunk it?

I just learned of one very positive sign of growth. A high level marketing guy from the publisher called to congratulate me because The Joy of Bocce became a Top 100 Seller for AuthorHouse. The print-on-demand operation has something like 30,000 titles in print. So, Top 100 is not too shabby. You may recall that I reported that in AuthorHouse's sports category (about 1500 titles), Joy of Bocce is a Top 10 seller.

My primary focus for 2009 (besides completing a third edition) will be to target more outlets for book sales. Sure, you can find it in book stores, but I want to get it on the shelf and on line at other places that retail gift items. Got any suggestions? The more people with a Joy of Bocce copy in their personal library the closer the sport gets to the mainstream. And we're getting closer each year!

Best holiday wishes...

Stay close and always be up front,
Mario Pagnoni (The Bocce Guy)

Bocce in Perrysville, Pennsylvania...

Bocce news & readers' feedback
{Publisher's comments in brackets...}

Received this neat cartoon and holiday greetings from Frank Ansley and Jack Anthony (the T-Shirt guys). Click on the cartoon to view a larger picture.

For more of Ansley's excellent work, visit .


Steve Kahn chimes in on our recent pre-game coin toss discussion...

"Our tournaments are played with pre-organized teams so there is no need for the cards or marbles mentioned to determine the teams. However we have had the heads/tails Alphonse/Gaston routines: 'You call it.'
'No, you call it', etc., etc, and then both call the same thing. Or there is no call before the coin hits the ground.

We have gotten around this by using disks painted green on one side, red on the other (to match the color of the balls, obviously). The team captains shut up, the ref makes the toss and tells who goes first. Works like a charm."


Lonnie from Murfreesboro, Tennessee started an interesting discussion on the Yahoo Group Bocceanonymous…

{My comments in brackets}

“I have been with a club (St. Rose Bocce Club) for 2 years and need some unbiased info on play after the pallino toss. The pallino must cross the CL (center line) to be in play, but not hit the end boards before coming to rest.

Now the question -- are team bocce tosses required to cross the CL as well to be in play? This is a club rule, if they do not cross the CL, the balls are removed from the court.

Several times u will see someone make a short toss (pallino), that will cross the CL by inches. I have never read any rules about the bocces being required to cross the CL. Any info?”

{Yikes! I get this question once in a while. It doesn’t make sense that a great shot, like a ball coming to rest right in front of the pallino (but short of the center line) gets removed from play.}

Someone responded with this post…

“It is a ridiculous and clumsy rule to remove the palle if they do not cross the middle line. Try it and experience how awkward it is.

It makes sense that the pallina should cross the line as that avoids it being tossed too close to be a challenge. But balls that land in front of it should be left where they fall.”

Another chimed in with…

“I have seen 4 sets of rules the most common involves the lines on the court that are not always used. The line 3 feet from the end is for spocking. You may try to spock an opponent’s ball away from the pallino but if you miss, your ball must hit the backboard and bounce back past that line.”

{Double Yikes! I remember some trying to implement a rule that intended to ensure that the person was rolling with sufficient force to really be a spock or raffa...e.g. if you attempt a hit and miss, your ball should at least reach the back wall???}


“Not sure if you got a clear message yet so I thought I'd ‘toss’ in a response. The pallino is the only ball that needs to cross the center line - the other team balls can fall where they may but if the ball hits the backboard on the other end of the court, without touching anything else, it's a dead ball and should be removed. The pallino also should be at least a foot away from the backboard and sides when initially thrown. IF the pallino should get knocked back across the center line during the game - that's ok.”

{Some play that the pallino must be a minimum of 1 foot from the side boards, others say if you don’t like it that I play the pallino so close to the sides, then you get the next point and place the pallino wherever you want.

But, I can’t agree with playing the pallino if it gets knocked back across the center line. What will you do if it gets smacked hard, ricochets off another ball and comes to rest at your feet (just in front of the foul line)? Will you continue to roll toward a target that’s right in front of your toes? Even I could volo and raffa at 90% accuracy at that distance.}

{This post makes more sense…}

“One clarification on pallino placement. While house rules exist at different localities we universally play that if, during play, the pallino gets knocked back over the half-line the frame must be replayed just as if the pallino left the field of play."

{Old friend Richard Heisler sent the post that made the most sense…}

“The problem with bocce in the USA is that it is anarchic. Everyone has his or her own rules and they are usually not written down. I wonder how baseball, football, soccer etc. would be doing if that were still the case?

{Triple yikes! Zio Riccardo sent me scrambling for my dictionary with his use of “anarchic” – great word. Zio must have been a lexicographer.}

We use the Open Rules of the USBF as they were worked out as a compromise of the various rules from east to west. They are available to anyone at under ‘Open Rules’. Mario Pagnoni supports very similar rules in ‘The Joy of Bocce’ second edition.

{I expect that in the Joy of Bocce 3rd edition (hopefully Fall, 2009) I’ll reprint an updated version of the USBF Open Rules which I understand will be “tweaked” in the very near future.}

After WWII clubs in Italy, Switzerland and France set up international rules which are used in national and international competitions including the World Volo and World Raffa championships.
These rules are too complex for most casual players, but they grow on you and here at the Italian Athletic Club in Stockton, CA and at Campo di Bocce we have twice as many raffa leagues as open. Rules are available online at .” Videos from the World's in Brazil are at:

{All of this points out what many of us have known for quite a while. There is just as much mis-information on the web as there is information. And Open Rules bocce is still a mess on this continent, while international rules remain as consistent as ever. View a pictorial on international rules here: }


Mike Grasser sent a photo of the 2008 United States Pallino D'Oro winners...

{Left to right in the photo are 3rd place - Jason Wisniewski, 4th place - Pierino Guglielmetti, Tourney Director Mike Grasser, 1st place - Jorge Moreno, 2nd place - Natale Scala.}

Grasser also sent a shot of the 2008 North American winners.

{Left to right in photo = 4th - Eddy Decillia, 2nd - Pat Pezzin, 1st - Jorge Moreno, 3rd - Americo Rizza.}


Elizabeth Jade Wong Fontana sends this...

"I just want to let you know the Women's World Championship for Raffa and Volo 'Il Campionato Mondiale Femminile' is to be held in Bevagna, Italy.

Bevagna is located close to Perugia. Flying into the smaller Florence/Firenze airport is preferable to the chaotic Rome airport. The Dogana/Customs officials are more intense and bureaucratic in Rome. Plus I would be able to greet arrivals at the Florence airport.

After a 1-2 day tour of Florence, an easy connection by train to Foligno then with a short 15 minutes ride by taxi to the town of Bevagna. The best airfare prices are on with airfare roundtrip from San Francisco to Florence approximately $800. Fly with Lufthansa: free alcohol, video monitors in front of every seat, efficient service.

I would be happy to assist fans who wish to watch and support the USA Women's teams play against the world's greatest women bocce players in Bevagna. Plus after the championships, I am arranging informal pickup games for all who come over, to play at clubs in Toscana region. Call 209-688-9359or email me: for more information regarding hotel bookings and personal guide/concierge services.

If your Italian or French is up to par, you can read about tournament information at these websites: and

Also you can view what it's like to play on the courts at the hosting Citta di Bevagna Bocciofila:

Someone asked me if the Italian women's team play as good as the men in the video, you can judge for yourself with these two videos of Italy's #1 Germana Cantarini and #2 Elisa Luccarini: part 2 and part 3

When I played with the USBF women's team in the 2004 Women's World Championships in Passo Fundo, Brazil; in the Individuals against #3 Brazil Teresa Passaglia made 3 points against the 15 points of the #3 Brazilian, and I made 4 points against the #2 Swiss woman. That is how good the best in the world are. I am sure that the 2009 USBF team will place higher than our 11th out of 12 teams finish. Tanti auguri to Maria Narayan, Colleen Randazzo, Rina, and Debbie O'Sullivan who will represent us in the Raffa competition."


Frank Valanzola is already gearing up for the 2009 New Jersey Invitational, which supports New Jersey charities.

"Dear Bocce Supporter,

We kindly request your attendance and participation of this Red, White & Blue event. We are working diligently to organize a worthy list of organizations to support our 3rd Annual Bocce Invitational benefiting Operation Shoebox New Jersey and Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey.

The aforementioned 501© 3's are of particular importance due to their continuing efforts to make a difference in the lives of many New Jersey residents and their families. Operation Shoebox New Jersey provides much needed care packages to our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey are committed to enhancing the quality of life of children. Boys & Girls Clubs have created a line-up of tested and proven nationally recognized programs that address today’s most pressing youth issues, teaching young people the skills they need to succeed in life. They offer programs in the areas of education, the environment, health, the arts, careers, alcohol/drug and pregnancy prevention, gang prevention, leadership development and athletics."

A great event for a great cause - very well organized. To offer support, contact Frank Valanzola at, 908.400.0851 or visit .

Click here to view a pdf file.


Joe Dinneen reminds us that Bocce made the Senior Games in Broward County, Florida.


Blast from the past...

It's fun to look at back issues to see where we were and where we might be headed.

Volume #3, Issue #48 - December 27, 2004

{This piece on email deliverability is from four years ago and is still pretty accurate today.}

Reflecting a trend in the ezine publishing industry, Joy of Bocce Weekly subscriptions are down. Once closing in on 10,000 subscribers, we are fewer than 7000 now. One problem is that some issues end up in email spam folders even though the intended recipient asked to receive it – so called “false positives”. The computer world despises spam and will go to great lengths to avoid it. And some people are just throwing up their arms and giving up – abandoning their email addresses and getting new ones (often neglecting to inform ezine publishers about the new address).

Newsletter publishers nowadays are losing between 30 to 40% of their list each year. Industry experts tell me that this Spam/Ezine Deliverability problem will be solved – but not soon.

If you have experienced intermittent reception of Joy of Bocce Weekly, one thing you can do (if you haven’t already) is Confirm your subscription – at the bottom of each ezine is a Confirm link – Click to Confirm that you do indeed want to receive mail from - this will make it more likely that the ezine will avoid your spam folder.

Also, please forward the ezine to your bocce playing friends and encourage them to sign up too. They’ll get an email that asks them to confirm that they really want to receive it – the so-called “double opt in” which is considered ezine industry "best practice."

Another approach that you might take is to set up a free email account (like Hotmail or Yahoo) and sign up for the ezine via that address. Free accounts are a lot less aggressive in their filtering of emails.

Finally, The Joy of Bocce Weekly’s success depends on feedback from readers – please weigh in on questions that we pose and send photos of bocce in your neck of the woods. Weekly photos, as you might expect, are the most popular feature of the ezine.

{Another thing you can do is to "whitelist" our email address - add the Joy of Bocce's sending address to your address book ( ).


Joy of Bocce 3rd Edition - Photos Needed

I’ve decided to do a third edition, re-doing almost all the photographs. I’ve got a great new digital camera and can re-take many of the shots. In addition, I’m asking readers to submit new pics – at least 300 dpi is the goal. I'm asking you and my friends like court builders David Brewer, Mike Grasser, and Tom McNutt to re-submit photos of their best courts. The new edition will probably not be much different in terms of text (although I may tighten it a bit – friends of mine say to me…”Leave it to you to write a book this thick on bocce”).

I'll need your help with this effort. Please submit high quality (300 dpi) pics (and permission to reprint) of bocce in your neck of the woods. This project will be my main focus for 2009. Please help.

Bocce for the sightless...

Photos of the week
This week's photos come courtesy of Richard Curreri, Secretary/Treasurer of the Southwest Florida Bocce Conference. The conference is made up of 12 gated communities, each of which has the opportunity of hosting various opponents in the league.

Says Curreri...

"I have attached a few pictures of our Bocce Courts here at Carlton Lakes. One shows the bulletin board we have at court-side. We believe in communication and we have members that do not have computers, so the only way for them to know what is going on is to read the bulletin board.

Second, our scoring system. It was made by a member. Simply a metal pipe placed in a pvc sleeve in the ground. A wire holds twenty-four (24) wood blocks with numbers. Twelve painted green and twelve painted red. Every other block is short so it is easier to move towards the center. The center has a tennis ball to separate the sides. We decided on this system so people can see the score form either end without screaming at each other.

Third picture shows our ball racks. Very important. We did not want the balls on the court for safety reasons. People sometimes forget where they are on the courts and trip over the balls. It also makes it easier for the elderly to pick up a ball.

Fourth and final picture shows a shot made by a member during a tournament. House rules, two points when the Bocce touches the Pallino. Believe it or not, this was a six point play. I never thought I would see it nor do I believe I will see it again. Pallino size 50 mm and Bocce 114 mm.

I will send more pictures in the future. We intend to add awnings at both end of the courts early next year and lighting the following year."

{Note #1: that 50 mm pallino is a tad large (international size = 40mm) and the 114mm bocce is larger than the 107 mm international preferred size.

Note #2: I occasionally hear of this house rule where a "leaner" scores two points. It's an interesting variation that appears to have been borrowed from horseshoes. It makes more sense to me in horseshoes - you almost got a ringer and you got rewarded with "bonus" points. But in bocce, you're supposed to get close to the target to score. You got close. You scored a point.

Play any way that's enjoyable for you, with any house rules you like. But be aware that in any "serious" tournament it's very unlikely that the referee will give you bonus points for a "leaner."}

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week

Holiday gift ideas for the bocce lover in your life...

Of course, I think an autographed copy of The Joy of Bocce would be a great gift. Make sure to think up a really cool inscription for me to include.

Click the link below to view other items...

Click for a holiday bocce shopping experience...

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}

Shop Today

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Tournament update
{chronological order}


Don't let the West Coast players hog all the space!


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 logo to the right to opt in if you do not already receive this ezine every Monday.


Please consider designating someone as "official event photographer" and directing that person to send snapshots for us to reproduce as photos of the week. Our readers love seeing bocce action from around the continent.


January 28 to February 10, 2009. 19th Annual South Florida Senior Games. For info, call the Senior Games HOTLINE at 954-828-4600 or e-mail: . Also, click or


March 12 - 15, 2009 - Florida - Cape Coral. World Series Bocce Invitational. $6000 first place guaranteed. New Veterans Park Bocce Courts. 3-player teams - round robin. Contact George Furlan @ 239-275-9968.


March 30 - April 5, 2009. Italy - Bavena. Women's Raffa World Championship. Details TBA.

June 20, 2009 - New Jersey - Franklin Twp. 3rd Annual Bocce Invitational at Colonial Park. Proceeds will support Operation Shoebox New Jersey and Boys & Girls Clubs of New Jersey.

Joy of bocce t-shirts, mugs, buttons, magnets, etc.

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.
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