The Official Weight of Bocce Balls
When shopping for a bocce set, there are a few factors to keep in mind. For those who want to take the game seriously or even go pro, there are two main variations of the sport that each have their own regulations. If precision matters to you, consider their respective rules and the materials used to make the bocce balls when making your purchase. Some materials might warp over time which can affect the size, shape and performance of the ball. When comparing the weights of various sets, be mindful of the measurement system used by the manufacturer. Sets manufactured in the United States might be labeled in pounds and ounces, but since bocce is not originally an American game, many sets will be labeled with metric measurements.
Bocce, the plural form of the word "boccia," which means "ball" in Italian, is the commonly used name for a game that uses eight identically sized and weighted balls and a smaller balled called a pallino. Modern sets are traditionally red and green and many have patterned grooves to provide additional differentiation, which is useful for players who are colorblind. Some bocce enthusiasts enjoy the game as a social activity at home, at a park or at the beach and will use a multicolored set. The size and weight of bocce balls varies depending upon which version of the sport you're playing.
Volo, from the Italian word "volare," which means "to fly" is the oldest and most traditional form of bocce. Its origin is believed to date back to ancient times and this form of the sport is still practiced in international tournaments. Older bocce were made of wood or bronze. The game is played on a natural surface and regulation volo balls must be made exclusively of metal and must weight between 900 and 1,200 grams, about 32 to 42 ounces. Women and children may use lighter balls that must weigh at least 800 grams, or a little more than 28 ounces.
Raffa is a newer form of bocce. Balls are made of synthetic material and the game is typically played on a synthetic surface. The standardized weight of the balls is 920 grams, or 2 pounds. Higher quality balls are often made of a high grade plastic that are usually more expensive than other sets but are known to hold their proportions better than less expensive bocce balls.
The pallino is the smaller ball that players aim for when tossing their bocce. A volo pallino is made of wood and regulation measurements are 35 to 37mm, or 1.4 inches in diameter. A Raffa pallino is made of plastic and measures 40 mm, or 1.6 inches in diameter. When playing for fun in the backyard or at the beach, you might want to use a pallino that is easier to spot. A golf ball or brightly colored croquet ball works well.
When shopping for bocce balls, you might encounter similar games. Petanque is French game that traditionally uses silver colored balls and is played much the same as bocce, but the diameter and weight of petanque balls is different. Croquet balls are also about the same size and weight as bocce balls.
Aline Lindemann is a health, food and travel writer. She has also worked as a social worker, preschool teacher and art educator. Lindemann holds a Master of Liberal Studies in culture, health and creative nonfiction writing from Arizona State University.