Shall we play boules?

Bocce (cro. bočanje) is not a social game practiced only in Croatia, it is part of a wider Mediterranean environment, but we could say that it is part of the Croatian tradition, especially in Dalmatia.

In Croatia, bocce (boules) is also known as balote and bučanje. The terms bučanje and buće prevail in the Dalmatian Zagora and western Herzegovina, while the term balote in Croats prevails on the islands and the coast from Savudrija to Prevlaka.



Balote game; Photo: Ahenobarbus, CC BY 2.0


Bocce is played by both young and old. One of the reasons why bocce has become an important part of Dalmatian everyday life is its accessibility.

The game can be played by people of all skill levels, making it a great way for people to get together and socialize. As the boules are played in public areas, it means that it is also an opportunity for people to interact with their neighbors and locals, who can sit on a nearby bench and watch and, of course, criticize.


Balote game; Photo: Ahenobarbus, CC BY 2.0


The game aims to throw the ball so that it rolls as close as possible to the boules (smaller balls). For each ball that is closest to the ball, a point (punat) is awarded. Only boules that are closer to the boule than the opponent’s are scored. The game is played until one of the teams reaches 13 points. And so until long into the night.




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Tourists watching the game from the sidelines probably think that a war will break out soon, due to the heated arguments of the players, but don’t worry, it’s just a reflection of the passionate Dalmatian mentality that doesn’t like to lose.




I do miracles right away, but the impossible still takes me a little time!

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