Vintage Bocce Balls

I have this old Vintage set of Bocce balls. They are made out of hard wood and are dented, chipped and have taken a beating. They were brought over from Italy by my husbands Grandfather back in the early 1900’s. We are thinking around the 1920’s. So these balls are almost 100 years old. This Bocce Ball set is the one thing I really wanted after my father in law passed away. There was just something about the old wooden look of these balls that made me want to take them out of hiding and display them. I also wanted to keep them in the family.


They looked great in their old withered shape but I wanted to condition them so they will last for many more years. I used coconut oil. I put a thin coating of coconut oil and gently gave them a rubdown, then I took a cloth and wiped them clean. This brought the dark leathery look back. The best thing about using coconut oil is that it does not leave them greasy or oily.

I‘m not real sure if I like them better with the oil applied or not. It sort of took away from the distressed character. If I decide to keep them in the best condition, I will need to apply the oil at least once a year. The wood will eventually dry back out. 

Before and after

Bocce Ball is a yard game. One person will throw the small ball called a Pallino (target ball) then each team takes turns throwing a large ball. The goal is to get as close to the small ball as possible even if it means knocking someones else's ball out of the way. Points are gained. You can have a team of two to four. 

We have a newer Bocce set that we keep in our camper. We like to play Bocce Ball on the beach. It attracts new friends as teams are made. They are also wooden and the same weight and size as the vintage set, but the new sets come in vibrant colors. A beach trip is the first time I ever learned about this game as I saw many people playing it on the sand.

I found a wire basket to display this old vintage set. They sit on my hearth with a story behind them. I would have loved to play with this set along side of my late grandfather in law. 


  1. what a lovely story. a perfect way to honor your father-in-law. your vintage Bocce set is special, indeed.

  2. Ahh you brought back some memories. When we moved to Valdese, NC, On Saturday afternoon I would see OLD men playing a game using the Black Balls. I never knew what it was. I learned later it was a game they had played in Italy. The Waldensians had brought the game with them. It wasn't until I was in my 60's that I learned, and even played the game. Son Mark gave me a set. I have not used it yet.
    Very good entry, as soon as I saw the title I said to my self, "I bet they are from Saint Nick's family!
    Good one. Love it.
    Sherry & jack

  3. I like them cleaned up. Great way to preserve family memories.

  4. I love Bocce ball...and I like yours both ways- polished and weathered looking. Like you, I would do what it takes to preserve them.
    We called Bocce ball Boules (I think that must be the European version of it). It is played the same way. xo Diana

  5. I prefer the bocce balls with their old look, but you sure cleaned them up nice!
    What a great keepsake they are!!

    I've been wondering, how did the job interview go?

  6. We have a bocce ball set, but not as lovely as yours. What a great inheritance.

  7. Oh my I sure know of the Bocce Balls. Husband wears a shirt and is proud with them on it, his father gave it to him. There is something about being Italian and the Bocce Balls. You my friend are blessed to have such wonderful items passed down! You are taking care of them for family and tradition! Love the post and yours look great!

  8. I love the thought of these out by the patio during a bbq with guests.

  9. I have been thinking I would like to learn to play bocce, and the 100 year old set you have is a family treasure.

  10. I've never heard of the game of bocce ball. How special that they belonged to your father-in-law from Italy. They look great after you cleaned them up. Sometimes old items just need a little care and love. I like the vintage picture you've shared.


  11. Thank you for writing about bocce balls. I was looking for a picture of 100 yr old bocce balls and your blog came up.
    Your bocce balls are exactly like ours. My husbands grandfather(arrived in 1910 to US) so maybe he brought them when he came. Unfortunately, the ones that would have known have past. Thanks again for your story of the bocce balls