Bocce


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Bluff View Arts District
Chattanooga, Tennessee
The Most Scenic Court in the South



Long-time promoters of bocce, my friend Rico Daniele and I had similar questions when asked to run a bocce event in the Arts District of Chattanooga, Tennessee. "They play bocce in Tennessee?" asked Rico, while I countered with "You mean to tell me they have an Arts District in Chattanooga?"


Surprisingly (and fortunately), the answer to both questions is Yes! And Dr. Charles (Tony) Portera is the man largely responsible. A transplanted Mississippian, Portera is one of the South's leading cancer surgeons. The tall, handsome sixty-something year-old has a staunch passion for medicine and the arts, an unwavering vision about what he wants for his city, and a firm grasp on his roots. Together with his wife Mary and their family, he has conceived and developed the Bluff View Arts District, a classic conclave of cafes, gardens, museums and galleries. Nestled in one of the city's finest historic areas, Bluff View features bed and breakfast in elegantly restored homes (circa 1900), gourmet dining in any of several restaurants (fresh made pastas, pastries, and chocolates), and culture in the River Gallery and the outdoor Sculpture Garden featuring local as well as nationally known artists' work.

Gazing over all that comprises the Arts District, including the gorgeous, well-manicured bocce court overlooking the Tennessee River, renowned oncologist Portera declares "I deal with death every day - I did this for joy."

Dr. Charles Portera regularly performs surgery at 4:00 AM and bocce court maintenance at 8:00 AM. He is pictured above pushing the heavy roller before a tourney tip-off. Note the metal trellis with newly planted wisteria (right side of photo) which will provide shade. The majestic Tennessee River is on the other side of the railing to the right. {More photos below.}
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That's the Tennessee River to the right. Bed and breakfast facilities and restaurants to the left. Metal trellis sports wisteria which will provide shade when fully grown.
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Good view of the bluff (Bluff View Arts District).
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If you anticipate rain, a tarp is not a bad idea.
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This requires a little mop-up work.
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A fan, a leaf blower, and a hard-working crew gets the job done.
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Aerial view of the venue - top right of photo is the Bocce Court Terrace for fine outdoor dining.
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For this event, bocce guru Rico Daniele gives a refresher on the rules.
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Play ball!
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Play bocce, dine, and view an outdoor sculpture garden, indoor art gallery, glass blowing studio, and museums - all within walking distance.
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One of the excellent pieces that adorns the grounds - bronze of Dr. Portera and grandchild.
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When playing bocce in Tennessee, you never know when you'll run into a direct descendant of Davy Crockett.

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