What is bocce?

A game of Italian origin similar to lawn bowling

If you’re from Herrin, Illinois you know what bocce is, and you’ve probably played it.

But some of us in the Heartland seem to have a lot of questions about the sport.

Good news: Heartland Weekend caught up with a few bocce players who rolled it out for us.

It’s similar to bowling.

RELATED | Bocce: A Herrin family tradition

How to play bocce ball

To play, you’ll need one pallina which is a smaller ball that becomes the ‘target.’

You’ll also need eight larger bocce balls which should be four each of two different colors or patterns.

An official bocce court measures 76 feet long and 10 feet wide, but you can designate a space of a similar size in your yard if you choose.

The game starts when a member of one of the teams throws the pallina. The team that throws the pallina is usually chosen by a coin toss.

They’re trying to get it about 30 feet from the pitch line or the center of the court.

Then, the same player follows that toss by rolling a bocce ball as close to the pallina as they can get it.

Next, a member of the opposing team rolls a bocce ball, also aiming to get their ball as close to the target as possible.

Ideally, this roll will knock the other team’s bocce ball out of the way and so on and so forth.

Scoring happens at the end of each round or frame with only one team scoring points.

A team earns one point for each ball that is closer to the pallina than the closest ball of the opposing team.

If a ball actually touches the pallina, the team is awarded two points.

If both teams’ balls are the same distance from the pallina, no one scores.

Additional rounds are played until one team reaches a set point total.

Even better: you can see it in action during HerrinFesta Italiana.

Scotty McCreery, Loverboy to perform live at 2019 HerrinFesta Italiana