The Joy of Bocce Weekly
In This Issue: Vol. VIII, Issue 28 - August 31, 2009 
•   Notes from the publisher
•   Bocce product of the week
•   Bocce news & readers' feedback
•   Non bocce product of the week
•   Photos of the week
•   Tournament update
Notes from the publisher
The weekly Ezine for bocce aficionados everywhere
Volume 8, Issue #28 - August 31, 2009
Publisher: Mario Pagnoni Copyright 2009
76 Emsley Terrace, Methuen, MA 01844 (vm 800-211-1202 ext 4949)

Hello again bocce faithful,

I just signed on to do a corporate outing at the beautiful, outdoor courts in Boston's North End. We should have some photos in a couple weeks. A bonus for me is that this event is for a major book publisher. The attendees are all involved in the book publishing industry. Maybe I'll catch a break and land a publisher for my 3rd edition. Or at least I might get some suggestions, feedback or a push in the right direction.

Reminder: Our 5th annual Martignetti Family Charity Bocce Tournament is set for Sunday, October 11, 2009 at the SportsZone in Derry, NH. This year the proceeds will benefit the Michael J. Cleary Fund.

The fund honors First Lieutenant Michael J. Cleary, a U.S. military munitions expert who was killed during valorous service in Iraq in 2005. More details below - for now, please mark your calendar and join us if you can. This is a great event that has raised money for great causes like The Jimmy Fund, Joey Fund, Alzheimer's research, and kidney disease research.

Note: Please add to your whitelist or address book in your e-mail program, so that you have no trouble receiving future issues!

Also, click "Confirm" at the end of this ezine to further ensure consistent delivery.

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Stay close and always be up front,
Mario Pagnoni (The Bocce Guy)

Marin Bocce - San Rafael, California...

Bocce news & readers' feedback
{Publisher's comments in brackets...}

Michigan's Michael J. Constantini sends a great photo (click on the image for a better look)...

"Attached is a photo of our courts in Iron Mountain, MI (Upper Peninsula of Michigan). The official name is 'The Ray Mariucci Bocce Courts @ City Park'.

The technical information is as follows:

Number of courts: 6
Dimension of courts: Approximately 11’-0” wide X 64’-0” long
Court surface material: Clay/granular sub base with limestone/clay/roof granular for top dressing
Typical play: 45 degree corners with live backboard

This is your official authorization to use the information in your 3rd addition of 'Joy of Bocce'."

{Well done! A great, high resolution photo for the new book and permission to reprint. Please follow Mike's lead and send a first-rate shot of your favorite bocce venue.}


iBocce's Bryan Mero sends more on last week's bocce etiquette column...

"I'd like to add some bocce etiquette for everyday or league play. Most of us don't play in official tournaments.

Here is some unspoken etiquette from the Martinez Bocce Federation with over 1500 members.

1. Introduce yourself to your opponents - bocce should be a social game. Get to know the other team and make friends. This will make the game much more fun whether you win or lose.

2. The only other player, besides the roller, on the court should be the next person in turn to roll. This may be to the discretion of the roller.

3. Measuring should be done by representatives of both teams. In league play, there usually aren't officials around to measure for you, so it is up to each team to agree on measurements and agree on the results. If you can't agree, then find a league official.

4. It's OK to clap or cheer for an opponent's excellent roll. Being a good sport and recognizing incredible rolls from the opposing team brings an agreeable atmosphere to the game.

5. After each game, shake your opponent's hand. This shows respect and gives you a chance to exchange pleasantries after a hard fought game. Sportsmanship should be highly sought after for each game.

6. Avoid trash talking with the other team. This can potentially lead to confrontation on and off the court. In most leagues, physical confrontations will lead to expulsion from the league.

These are only a few suggestions to bocce etiquette. It has seemed to work well here out west!

{Of all the bocce players I've encountered hereabouts, most of those who have wanted to "get in your head" are former dart players. My theory is this - darts is a game of skill. It's how you toss the dart, so dart players must try to psyche each other out. They don't really talk trash in bocce, but say things they hope will throw you off your game. "That's too far for you. You'll NEVER make it reach" - hoping you'll hit the backboard, creating a dead ball.}


Last week's ezine stirred up a little controversy. That's a good thing - dialog and healthy criticism is good for debate. It reminds me of the reaction to my first book, which was a McGraw-Hill BOMC selection. In it I was critical of public school education in what I thought was a good natured way. I used a lot of humorous anecdotes from my experience with educators. This upset some of my colleagues who thought I was referring to them - and I wasn't. They saw themselves in the anecdotes even though they weren't anywhere near my radar screen. Very telling...don't you think?

My friend Sean Gresh, an accomplished writer and college professor of journalism, told me "If you're going to be a writer, you can't worry about hurting people's feelings. Tell them to write their own book."

Still, I don't want to upset anyone in the bocce community. I want to bring people together and help unify the sport.

I wrote last week that "We want to pair bocce with fine foods and fine wines. We don't want it associated with fast food and a brewski like bowling."

What I should have said is that "SOME OF US want to..." because I'm one of the guys who likes the idea of bocce getting a little classier image. It's definitely got an image problem. Many think that it's an OLD person's game. Many think it's an old MAN's game. Some think it's ONLY for Italians.

We have a 75-year-old in our senior sports group who plays basketball and softball but not bocce. He's still a pretty good player at 75 so I can only imagine how good he was when he was 25. A retired electrician, he often volunteers to help us with projects. You may recall how a few years back we built a greenhouse over 4 bocce courts in Salem, NH, then ran afoul of the zoning board and had to dismantle it. This fellow helped us put the structure up and take it down, put the wiring in and took it out - all at no charge for his professional services. But he won't play bocce. He won't even give it a try by rolling a ball or two. It's as if, for him, to play bocce is to admit that he is old, that he can't play basketball and softball anymore. No matter how hard I try to get him to give bocce a whirl, he just won't. I don't know how widespread these feelings are, but I know they're all tied into this image problem. Some marketers say "Image is everything."

So, while I certainly don't have any problem with bocce and a brewski, I admit to a bias of hoping to link bocce to some of the finer things. And I don't even drink beer or wine.

Maybe one of the reasons I prefer a more upscale image for bocce is a self serving one. I want to run more corporate outings where large companies pay me vast sums of money to run a successful event for them. When I envision this in my mind I don't picture burgers and fries.

One of the factors that may have lead to my aforementioned bias is the fact that I've become close friends with the Grella family of Methuen. They love fine foods and fine wines, and their son Tom Grella Jr. was a contestant on The Next Food Network Star. I've become a "foodie", although half the time I don't even know what's in the delicacies Tom Jr. is offering me to consume...

Campo di Bocce's Ben Musolf offered this...

"I disagree with two things said in your most recent e-zine:

The USBF does not recognize or solicit official shoes therefore we do not endorse a specific product. If someone were to fall - it shall not be the fault of the USBF.

{Musolf refers to Phil Ferrari's tip: "...wear proper approved bocce shoes endorsed by the USBF and WBL. THIS WILL PREVENT UNNECESSARY SLIPS THAT WILL CAUSE STRAINED MUSCLES WHEN HITTING OR VOLOING ON THE COURT."

I guess Ferrari was saying to use the USBF or WBL endorsed products if there are such. I don't see any on either web site. Ferrari probably should have said something like "Wear a good rubber soled shoe that will prevent slipping and not damage the court surface."

Anyway, I haven't seen any slipping on courts but I do see some people stumble getting into and out of courts when they have to step over side and endboards.}

Musolf goes on..."Good food and good wine are definitely a bonus to have while playing the wonderful game of Bocce, however a good beer and a brat is definitely more enjoyable sometimes. To say we do not want beer and bratwurst associated with Bocce is a slap in the face to almost all bocce players in America."

{Well, "slap in the face" is a little "over the top" from my point of view. I like a sausage sandwich as much as the next guy, but would like to see bocce's image get a tad more upscale. But one thing I know for sure about this great and diversified sport - there is room for everybody and every cuisine in this great pastime.


Ohio's Tom Coppola was another who wasn't pleased with last week's column...

Bocce: Let the Market Decide

"Your latest blog entry by the esteemed Dr. Cordano infuriates me!"

{Yikes! I didn't want to upset anyone, but I especially didn't want to INFURIATE! My apologies to all who I have offended.}

"I have been struggling with my thoughts on the game of bocce and the differing points of view as to standardization of the rules of play. My bias is evident: in northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania bocce essentially is a club game brought about from working class immigrants from Italy, the Czech Republic, Croatia or other parts of Europe. Created here were courts that fit into alleys, and then inside clubs built on narrow lots. Backyard bocce was non-existent because the Victory Garden, and to some, the Survival Garden was too important.

At first the clubs were oases of serenity for someone who desired respite from daily struggles with differences in language and culture, outright discrimination and poverty. Bocce helped them overcome their problems. The Bocce League in many different forms and structures came into being, although the concept of rolling close or knocking opponents shot away were the mainstays of the game.

The notion of 'fine foods and fine wines' as opposed to 'fast food and a brewski' is the essence of my problem with both the blog writer and the Doctor. While the former seems to be the ethos of the 'Bocce Palaces' being developed, the promoters seem to want only players from the new bastions of the upper middle class at their establishments. Yet, to the working person a sausage sandwich and a beer before or during a match at a local club—tournament or regular league included—is somehow abhorrent to aficionados of the game?

Please, faithful readers of the blog. Chime in! Am I so wrong to hold this notion?

Any debate about bocce rules of play starts stops and ultimately boils down to: Let the market decide!

Readers of the 'Joy of Bocce' blog have seen some discussion by both the open rules vs. international rules advocates. Each side of the issue has spokesmen who can make compelling cases for why their view is superior. While some hold that unification and rules standardization are necessary for bocce to reach critical mass, some also are ignorant that there even exists such a thought dichotomy of structure and form among participants, and still others even find discourses like this completely irrelevant. They just want to play bocce and have fun doing it.

Theory would hold that in free market capitalism the supply of bocce entertainment and sports venues will increase with the demand for it by participants. The insatiable demand of the bocce player for the ultimate test in demonstrating skills will create, and increasingly lead to more difficult competition among fellow players and venues. Obviously, there is economic gain in the 'big money' tournament to both the player and the sponsor. At the club or entrepreneurial level league play can make a difference in keeping a venue open or having it shuttered. And eventually the back yard player will tire of limited competition.

Yet from this viewpoint and admitted open rules bias bocce is extremely distant from reaching a point of recognition even as a legitimate sport, e.g. curling. Gymnastics, swimming, archery, equestrian events, and track and field along with curling, obviously, are Olympic sports which enjoy larger followings and generate substantial opportunities for vendors and participant income in the form of scholarships and commercial endorsements. Nevertheless, all of these minor sports pale in comparison to the endless possibilities of the major sports such as golf, boxing, hockey or soccer, which furthermore are dwarfed by NASCAR/Formula One, baseball and American football. And when one considers that the audience for a basketball game now reaches hundreds of millions worldwide, the climb into sports consciousness may seem to be overwhelming for, and the deck stacked against bocce.

All of us bocce aficionados do need to work together toward common objectives. We need to define terms and establish facts about our favorite pastime. Myths, mistruths and misconceptions need clarified. And we must abate some of the 'bocce arrogance' about rules favoring luck over skill, or size court, etc. Like the (team) game itself we need a good overall strategy, better communication and proper execution to improve our sport and bring it closer to the mainstream.

Will a greater sum of prize money offered correspond to an increased level of participation? If so, how do we raise the purses without over taxing players; and what must we do to increase the number of entrants to spread the costs around better and make the events more attractive to commercial sponsors? Here it seems logical that the style of bocce play should seek to facilitate the recruitment of athletes from other sports into a team rather than an individual skills set environment.

We also find that in Cleveland two professional bocce tournaments of some consequence occur on the same dates with all matches played under open rules. That gives rise to two different aspects: How do we foster coordination of events, cooperation and/or mediation of disputes and otherwise stifle ruinous competition and among organizers? And, second, do the international rules venues out perform the open rules games in an economic sense? Are there that many teams playing for that much money in any one location in the world either under open rules such as in Cleveland or Rome, NY with a $150.00 team entry fee as opposed to international rules events at a similar cost?

Then there is: If the international rules players were so superior to the open rules players, would not the open rules tournaments be 'easy pickings' for the former?

More questions need to be posed as much as coherent answers developed.

In conclusion from this perspective opportunity for professional play and the success of profit seeking ventures will define the future of bocce, not club level or back yard play.

So let us focus our bocce endeavors on promoting the game positively, striving to improve our quality of play and that of others, and playing the game by always getting the point and shooting straight."

{After reading this well-written piece from Coppola, I had a kind of epiphany. As near as I can figure, I'm about the only guy in America who is writing about bocce on a weekly basis. Heck, there are a lot better players than I, a lot smarter people and a lot better writers - exhibit A = Tom's eloquent and passionate words above. Maybe instead of posting comments and questions and hoping readers will REPLY via email, I ought to be on the phone chatting with players from around the country, gathering different perspectives and writing about those perspectives.

I'm at a loss to figure out how this game is going to evolve. I have no problem playing any rules the home team provides, but I keep hearing that we need standardization for the game to grow. I'm not so sure that's true. The game is alive and well all over the place, and played differently everywhere. I guess that, if the essence of the game (pointing and hitting and using smart tactics) is pretty universal, then bocce can go on as it is now and probably flourish.

Florida's Tony Ceresoli has an interesting perspective on the game. He told me that open rules (maybe even with a live backboard) might be the way to go as that game might be better for TV coverage. Wow! Consistent TV coverage - do you think we'll ever get that?

As far as the fine wines and fine food vs. the bowling/fast food thing...I like the former but can live with the latter. Hey, Italian sausage IS fine food. We want everybody to enjoy this great game, not just the upper class. That's one of the problems I have with the big money tourneys - the average person just learning to play is intimidated by big money purses, thinking "professionals" will be in the line-up.

Anyway, criticism is good - the more perspective the better - Let the Market Decide, I love it! Please REPLY with comments, or at least send me your phone number.}


Cleveland, Ohio's Wayne Farinacci writes...

"I have a possible solution to Bill Vanore's problem of having too many pine needles and leaves in his court. It is a pain to have to constantly clean the court when you want to play. More importantly, these materials begin to compost right on your court, leaving the court with some dirt and playing more slowly than desired.

My neighbor's very large tree covered half of my court and continually dropped unwanted foliage on it. It was interesting that half of my court played fast and hard while the other half played slower. This year I hired a tree company to cut 1/3 of my neighbor's tree. Problem solved. While it cost me $600 to have the section over my court removed, we now play at least twice a week on the court and it's all fast and hard. It was a blessing."


Sandro Martignetti sends a request for help with this year's charity bocce tourney...

Dear Family and Friends,

I am writing to invite you to participate as a volunteer for this year's Martignetti Family Charity Bocce Tournament. It is hard to believe that we are in preparation for our fifth annual tournament. With the support and hard work of so many, we have raised nearly $120,000 over these past four years. Our funds have supported research for children with cancer (Jimmy Fund) and cystic fibrosis (Joey Fund), and they have also supported research into ground breaking work on kidney disease and Alzheimer's disease.

Proceeds from this year’s tournament will be donated to the Michael J. Cleary Fund, which honors First Lieutenant Michael J. Cleary who was killed during valorous service in Iraq in 2005. Michael, a true American hero, lost his life at the hands of a roadside bomb. The goals of the Fund include supporting causes in the community that Michael gave his life supporting, aiding wounded veterans, helping families of our fallen heroes, and supporting other organizations which support OUR U.S. veterans. Plus, we hope to bring awareness to the daily sacrifices made by our servicemen and women in keeping our country safe.

If you have volunteered and supported the bocce Tournaments in the past, I thank you and hope that we can count on your support and assistance once again. If this is the first time you have been asked to volunteer, I hope that you will consider my invitation to participate. I have attached a rather extensive task list. Please look it over and let me know where you can help. Among the many possibilities -- acquiring sponsors, putting together a team to play in the tournament, acquiring raffle prizes and auction items, helping with registration, set-up of tables and chairs, assembling the bocce courts, running of the kids' activities, etc. We are also open to any ideas you may have to raise additional funds and to make the bocce tournament a fun and fulfilling experience for all involved.

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to seeing you on October 11. (Details of the event can be found at .)

Sandro Martignetti

{If you are going to be in the neighborhood of Derry, New Hampshire and can help, please REPLY to . If you can make a contribution, please send to MFCBT c/o Martignetti Enterprises, 29 High St., Woburn, MA 01801.}


Tom Belluomini forwards a link to the Ferndale bocce courts from his son Chris...

"My son saw these while attending a county fair in Northern California. They do look beautiful indeed."


Joy of Bocce - Third Edition Update

The current plan is to keep the 2nd edition in print, while updating and tightening the new edition to make it more helpful to the average player and the person interested in learning the game. Of paramount importance for the new edition are an attractive, high impact cover, high quality images throughout, and simple, easy-to-read chapters for beginners and devotees.

Still need a foreword from someone with a pretty high profile – am attempting to contact John Madden and Steve Mariucci regarding this. They are not only high profile, but they love bocce.

Please feel free to comment and help shape the new edition.

Looking for high resolution photos (300 dpi) of the following:

great looking bocce courts
lawn bowls play
petanque play
kiss the fanny image

Send to along with your name for proper credit and permission to reprint. Thanks.


Big Money Tourney in Worcester, Massachusetts?

We can schedule the potential $ tournament mentioned in a recent issue for November of 2010 instead of August. Is that a better date for people with fewer events scheduled around that time? Do people want to come to Massachusetts in November?

Worcester is located in central Mass. within driving distance of Boston, Springfield (site of the Basketball Hall of Fame), and Providence, RI. The venue would be the DCU Center which has a massive carpeted ballroom which could easily house 10 or more bocce courts.

I thought I'd run this by the readers to see what kind of initial response it generates. To my knowledge there has never been a large prize money bocce tourney in New England. Players could fly into Logan. Worcester is about a 50 minute car ride from Boston.

We could have a reception for the players on Thursday night followed by bocce action on Friday and Saturday and perhaps a closing banquet on Saturday evening. The entry fee would include hotel and other amenities. Hotel check out could be Sunday morning for those who need to get back to work on Monday.

We'd line up other activities for friends and family (trip to Boston, perhaps a bus to one of the Connecticut casinos, etc.).

What do you think? If the prize money was large enough, do you think we could draw enough 4-player teams to make this work? Please REPLY with comments, suggestions, or questions.


Pat Pezzin sends news of an event...

"I just wanted to let you know about an upcoming tournament in the Toronto area. It's one that I'm really looking forward to as it is my own club, Toronto 777 Bocce, that is hosting it. Joe Defillipis is the club president and it looks like he is on the right track on making this a great annual event.

The attached link is the Application but below I've highlighted some of the details.

Toronto 777 Bocce Club -1st Annual Classic Cup
Date: September 25 - 27, 2009
Format: 2 person team, open rules with no direct backboard contact, double elimination and games to 16 points
Entry Fee: $100 per team
Prize Pool: 1st Place $3000 with a total Guaranteed prize pool of $6000 with prizes from 1st -8th places
Location: Ciociaro Social Club featuring 4 indoor professional sized courts, 7412 Kipling Ave , Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada

Contact: Joe Defilippis @ 905-856-5956 ext 5250 or e-mail


Paul E Cunningham - President, Bocce-at-Sea Club - sends this...

"Perhaps you could tell the players in your tournament about the event that my club is promoting. This will be a lot of fun for those who can take advantage of it."

{Met with Paul recently and can recommend him to you without reservation. He's spending what should be his retirement years giving back to the community by sharing his cruise earnings with various charities.}



We should all be card carrying members. Every club should be affiliated. For the sport to gain the attention it needs we need to boast of many thousands of members. Download a USBF Membership Application here: . }

Meet the Bocce Buddies of Maine...

Photos of the week
This week's pics come courtesy of Richard Boyce.

He says "Tom 'Boccemon' McNutt told me about your third edition of The Joy of Bocce and suggested that I send you photos of our new Bocce Court.

Lincoln Village is a Townhome Association of 132 residences on 18.5 acres of land in beautiful Willow Glen, a western section of San Jose."

{When I asked for more info on the court, he got Jeff Clark at the Repair People, a Licensed General contractor, to respond.}

"From memory, about 90' x 13'. We made it as big as practical for the space we had to work with.

Three layer court. ~ 4" to 6" of class 2 road base whacked with vibratory plate, followed by an inch of local decomposed granite, whacked again. Coated liberally with 30 some odd 50# bags of Oyster Flower, hydrate [not quite to the point of pumping], rolled, soaked, rolled. Flood the oyster in the evening, following morning, roll again... a couple of days running till it didn't feel like we were gaining anything compaction wise. Done."

{If you think you might need Jeff and The Repair People, visit .}

{Let's hear about bocce in your area. Please send photos. People LOVE seeing courts and bocce play from around the country, and we might include one of your photos (with your permission) in the new book!}

View this week's photos

Bocce product of the week
Precision Bocce Measures

Choose the Clubhawk Gold, Henselite Bowls, or Premier Boule Measure. You can't go wrong with any of the three choices. Once a bocce aficionado has a set of bocce balls and my book, the next logical acquisition is a first-rate measure.

Each retails for $26.95 plus $5.00 shipping and will be shipped US Priority Mail.

Click the photo for more info, pictures, etc.

Click to go to merchandise order...then scroll down a bit...

Non bocce product of the week
{Hey, bocce's great, but I'm always on the look-out for all kinds of good products for my readers}

Shop Today!

Tournament update
{chronological order}


Don't let the West Coast players hog all the space!


Please - anyone running a tournament - do me a favor - put a notice near your tourney bracket board informing players that they can go to and "opt in" for my FREE Ezine on bocce. Click the logo to the right to opt in if you do not already receive this ezine every Monday.


Please consider designating someone as "official event photographer" and directing that person to send snapshots for us to reproduce as photos of the week. Our readers love seeing bocce action from around the continent.


September 19, 2009 - California - I.A.C. - Stockton. RAFFA - 1 MAN AND 1 WOMAN. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.


September 20, 2009 - California - P.I.A.S.C. San Mateo
OPEN - 4 PLAYERS. At least one woman. Contact Rose Viscuso @ 650-349-7732.


September 26, 2009 - California - I.B.S. - Sutter Creek. OPEN - 4 PLAYERS. Gold Country Classic. Contact Rick Wagstaff @ 209-296-6151.


September 27, 2009 - California - I.A.C.C. - South City. RAFFA - 3 PLAYERS. 24th Ital.-Amer. Games. Contact Alvaro Bettucchi @ 650-871-9278.


October 3, 2009 - California - Stockton - Waterloo. OPEN - 4 PLAYERS. Contact David Canclini @ 209-957-3314.


October 4, 2009 - California - South City I.A.C.C. VOLO - 2 PLAYERS. Contact A. Bettucchi @ 650-697-7702.


October 10, 2009 - California - San Rafael - Marin. OPEN - 4 PLAYERS. Contact Diana Pelligrini @ 415-485-5583.


October 11, 2009 - New Hampshire - Derry. 5th annual Martignetti Family Charity Bocce Tourney. Proceeds benefit the Michael J. Cleary Fund. Details .Contact .


October 17, 2009 - California - Sacramento - East Portal. RAFFA - 3 PLAYERS. Contact Vern Cooper @ 916-961-2404.


October 23-25, 2009. Arizona - Surprise - Kokopelli Winery & Bistros Grape Crush Festival featuring a Bocce Tournament, Wine stomping competition, wine, beer, & food demonstrations, music, local vendors, kids play area, & art show by Arizona Art Alliance. $20 per 2-person team (part of fee goes to the Chamber of Commerce). Contact Melissa at 623-556-4810 or .


October 24, 2009 - California - Stockton I.A.C. RAFFA - 3 players. Western Sector Championship. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.


November 12-14, 2009. Nevada - Reno. Peppermill Casino. OPEN - 4 players. Contact Dana Shores @ 800-648-6992.


November 14 - 15, 2009. Nevada - Las Vegas International Open. 4-player teams - double elimination. Contact Pasquale D'Aliesio @ 602-569-9149 or . More info:


November 21, 2009 - California - South City I.A.C.C. – RAFFA-2 WOMEN PLAYERS. Contact Alvaro Bettucchi @


December 5, 2009 - California - Stockton. I. A. C. OPEN – 4 PLAYERS. At least two women players. Contact Romano Lotti @ 209-951-8256.

Joy of bocce t-shirts, mugs, buttons, magnets, etc.

Merchandise still available at

Check out the first-rate equipment we offer. The finest measuring devices for bocce (made in UK by Prohawk for lawn bowling, petanque, and bocce) - the finest bocce balls in the world (made in Italy by Perfetta) and the number one selling instructional book on bocce in America - Check them out.
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