Bocce Ball


2019 Bocce –  Back for our 30th Season!

 Wednesday, June 5, Thursday, June 13, Wednesday, June 19
1 Tournament: Tuesday, June 25.  With a BBQ following the tournament
All sessions are 6:30-8:00 PM, at 30 Wellesley Road.
 Limited to 30 people on a first-come basis.
Registration Fee: $30
Commissioner:   Joe Torregrossa (, 610.544.7264 (home), 267.718.8907 (cell)
SRA first started its Bocce program in the summer of 1990. It has been continuously and energetically played every year since. Bocce is an Italian game of ancient origin with roots going back to Egyptian times, through ancient Greece and into the Roman Legions. It is said that Roman soldiers played a version of the game as they campaigned in the empire in what is now France, Spain and England.  Hence, in addition to being played in Italy, there are versions of the game played all over Europe, sometimes called boule or petanque in France, petanca in Spain, and lawn bowling in the UK.
Bocce was brought to the US by Italian immigrants. In their neighborhoods, they build bocce courts and enjoyed playing the game as a community affair.  Ann and Joe Torregrossa of 30 Wellesley road have their own official bocce court and brought Bocce to SRA. Joe grew up in an Italian American neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. After moving to Swarthmore in the 1970s, Joe and his wife Ann would hold informal neighborhood bocce tournaments on their lawn.  In 1990, they built an official bocce court and opened the game up to the Swarthmore community through SRA.
Game Play
Typically there are two teams of 1 to 4 players per team.  Each team has 4 bocce balls. To start a round of play, one team tosses the “pallino”,  a target ball, down the court. Each team, in turns, tries to gets its bocce balls closer to the pallino than the other team’s balls. However many of one team’s bocce balls are closer to the pallino than the other team’s closest bocce ball determines how many points are earned. If all 4 of one team’s balls are closer than the closest opponent, ball, 4 points are scored. Rounds continue until one team reaches or exceeds the pre-determined game total. Games are frequently played to 11 or 15 points.
SRA House Rules
SRA’s bocce games are played to 7 points, giving all a chance to participate. Two games are played simultaneously, One on the official court and one in the yard. Teams are selected by throwing “1 or 2” fingers into a circle until there are four players for Team 1, and and four players for Team 2.
Evenings in June start off the regular season game play all for practice coupled with socializing, culminating in the group’s Tournament and Italian BBQ.  Over the many years of SRA Bocce, there have been literally hundreds of different participants, ranging in age from small children to seniors in their 80s.  Families are welcome and children frequently participate as pallino tossers, scorekeepers and referees.