The Games of Italy: Balls, Bingo and Bocce

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Games of Italy

Italy is well known for its sporting pedigree. It’s a nation that has won the Football World Cup four times after all. But while the Italians can’t lay claim to be the inventors of football, they do have a history of creating many games that are still enjoyed to this day. Here are details about games in Italy.

The nation prides itself on its inventive nature when it comes to games, and has given the world some of its most renowned pastimes. But what are the most famous games to come out of the great Mediterranean nation?

Bingo

Bingo is one of the most well-known games on the planet and in recent years has proven to be a real online phenomenon. The game has really developed over the past 12 months with millions playing variants playing different variants worldwide. It does, however, have slightly more humble beginnings.

The game of bingo dates back to the 16th century when the Il Gioco del Lotto d’Italia launched in Italy. It instantly became a hit in the nation and wasn’t long before it started to spread through Europe. It has of course developed significantly since then, and it wasn’t until the 1920s that it became known as bingo, thanks to the British.

Calcio Fiorentino

The Italians love football, but in Florence there’s a strand of the beautiful game, which is a little more brutal than beautiful. Calcio Fiorentino, or Calcio Storico as it’s also known, is a type of football played on sand, with each team having 27 players and no such thing as a foul. 

It’s a breathtaking game that we certainly don’t encourage you to try at home, and was captured really well in a recent Netflix documentary called Home Game.  It is a game played almost exclusively in Florence and the players are worshipped just as much as any millionaire footballer, despite the sport being semi-professional and a tournament happening just once per year. 

Bocce

Bocce is a type of boules that follows similar rules and formatting to British lawn bowls and the French game petanque. It dates back all the way to the Roman Empire and has been taken by Italian immigrants across the pond to the likes of North America and South America where it has slowly become more popular.

The aim of the game is similar to bowls, in which teams or players must bowl a ball as close to the jack (a smaller ball) as possible. The player or the team with the ball closest to the jack wins.

Pallone col Bracciale

Dating back to the 16th century, pallone col bracciale is an incredible game and was at one time the most popular of all Italy’s ancient national sports. The game saw players don a bracciale, a wooden cylinder, over their forearm, with players then required to use it to hit a ball across a court in a similar manner to tennis.

Scoring is the same as tennis and the aim of the game is to win 12 games in order to win the match. It is less frequently played today, but you will still find some clubs dotted around the country.

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