The game

The first traces of recreational activity, which probably represent the oldest evidence of bowls, dating to 7000 BC with the discovery, in the Neolithic town of Catal Huyuk, Turkey, some stone balls that show clear signs of rolling over rough terrain. In Egypt, the like, but more finely crafted, were found in the tomb of a child dating back to 3500 BC

The Greeks and the Romans used to play bowls.

One of the earliest written documents mentioning this game is the greek physician Hippocrates (460-377 BC), who praises him and the board holds a very healthy.

The leap in quality of the balls is still due to the Romans who adopted, first, wooden balls. For Ovid was the favorite pastime during his exile on the Black Sea, there delighted the emperor Augustus (who used olive burl bowls), Pontius Pilate and Claudia also Galen, who, like Mr Hippocrates, advised him young and old.

The Roman legions did know the game in Gaul and Britain, where, later, had a huge development.

In the Middle Ages, this game became a craze. It was played in the streets, squares, castles. The bowls fascinated everyone, nobles and plebeians. It was not disdain the church and the ladies. In 1299, in Southampton (the Roman Clausentum), England, was born that we can consider the first club boccistico: The Old Bowling Green.

But the excessive practice of the game gave trouble to the powerful. The work neglected, bets, and sometimes, the furious quarrels, provoked the first prohibitions that accompanied the game of bowls for centuries. Among the most adamant to stamp out a game that “… the people on financial reverses most convenient to the defense of the realm …” there is the French Charles IV the Fair (edict of 1319), Edward III of England (1339), Charles V Wise (1369 in France) and the English King Richard II (1388), Enrico IV (1401) and Henry VIII (1511).

But there was, albeit modest, even some voices in favor. At the end of ‘400, doctors at the University of Montpellier, France, were convinced that this game was a great cure for rheumatism. Take kindly to having the balls were also Dutch humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536, called the “ludus globorum missilium”), the German theologian Martin Luther (1483-1546) and Calvin (1509-1564, was also a avid player).

The writer Rabelais Gargantua in 1532 told us how to practice this game to digest. Bruegel the Elder immortalized in his famous painting of children Games (1559) exhibited at the National Art Gallery in Vienna. Sir Francis Drake he was a real buff.

In 1588, warned of the arrival of the Spanish fleet, the famous “Invincible Armada,” he continued quietly to play bowls on the docks of the port of Plymouth decided, before sailing to defend England to finish his game with un’incertissima boatswain.

Bocce speaks William Shakespeare in his Richard II (1595). The game, however, continued to worry the authorities. In 1576 the Doge of Venice, they were even scared and issued an edict against heavy “… the danger of big bales ….” But they were practically the last anathemas against a game that, by now, had spread throughout most of Western Europe. In fact, towards the end of the seventeenth century, Charles II of England was legalized, and even he arranged for a sort of regulation.

In 1753, in Bologna, he published a booklet, the “skittles” Raffaele Bisteghi, which formalizes this game popular and, with countless variations, also regulated.

On 1 May 1873 the first company was founded in Turin in Italy who took the curious name of Crack Bowls. It was the first step, the first brick of the future national organization. A quarter century later, in 1897, a group of companies bowling Piedmont met in Rivoli, near Turin, and he decided to establish a coordinating body of the territory. Thus, on 1 May 1898, in Turin, the International Exhibition, was born the Union Bowling Piemontese, practically the first federation which began the modern stage of the game of bowls.

Advances were immediate. In 1904, he established the first official game of the technical regulations. The activity was carried out only with the open, on fields that are not marked, with wooden bowls. The ball was born in France “spike”, the ancestor of the metal.

UBI was born in 1919, Union Bowling Italian, the heir to the Piedmont. The new body, based in Turin, was led by Advocate Massimo Cappa.

The 1924 was another historic day. For the first time, with a demonstrative presence, the balls landed in the Olympics. The games took place in Paris where, at the same time, we played a tournament between teams from the Italian, French and Monegasque.

In 1926 the Olympic Committee recognized the UBI. It was an important milestone for the bowls that were seen as equivalent to other sports. But the euphoria did not last long.

In 1929 a ministerial decree moved the balls by CONI wave, the OND, they considered a recreational activity. In the new context, while outdated, however, the petanque found a real and substantial unification of the country and began an extensive peripheral organization. Also adopted was a single technical rules of the game in Italy.

In 1929 there was an important breakthrough with the birth of the ball “synthetic”, a sphere, mixed with sawdust and glue.

In 1945, fascism fell, broke even the OND whose functions passed all’ENAL, National Body Care Workers. After the war, the bowls had a very troubled life, with the birth of multiple federations, only in 1948, they found an agreement and formed all’UFIB, Union of Italian Bocce Federation, which brought together the two main systems of the game played in Italy: “crook” spread virtually throughout the country and that also considers the recreational aspect of the game, and the “flight” that is firmly rooted in Piedmont and Liguria, focused mainly on racing. The headquarters of the Federation was established in Genoa and the two game systems were coordinated by two sections: La Serena, Section National Rules for the game by crook, based in Milan, and SeReInt, International Regulation Section, also based in Genoa, who managed the game route.

1946: came the International Federation of the flight, in 1950 one of the crook.

1979: all of Italy bowlers saw them winning the united will and the various federations until then operating in the peninsula were united under one symbol, the UBI, which gained immediate recognition of the CONI. In 1985 came the World Confederation who obtained the following year, the recognition of the IOC.

1991: the Italian bocce adopted a new statute, it did identify a modern logo (blue ball moving with three-color swirl) and became known as FIB, Italian Federation of Petanque.

On February 28, 1993 Romolo Rizzoli was elected president of the FIB. The sport of bowling, thanks to the decisive support of the FIB and the Italian Olympic Committee, helped organize and participated informally in the Mediterranean Games in Montpellier, France. The following year FIGP (Italian Federation of Petanque Game) joined the FIB.

In 1997, the sport of bowling took part in an official at the Mediterranean Games in Bari and at the World Games in Lahti, Finland.

Romolo Rizzoli was elected chairman of the CBI, the ‘international crook, and two years later joined the Executive Committee of the CONI. In 2001 began the first regular transmission of the bowls on Rai Tv. In 2004 there were two major events that did make a qualitative leap with FIB. The first was laying the foundation stone of the Federal Technical Center in Rome, a work of worldwide importance. The second was a recognition by the Government as a federation with charitable purposes, a legislative act that brought significant economic benefits to society.

Rizzoli in 2006 was elected president of the World Confederation Sport Bowls (CMSB) and China, for the first time, organized a world championship, the women’s flight, in which Italy won two gold medals.

Rizzoli in 2009 was re-elected for the fifth time at the top of FIB and Italy began in the first exhibition organized World Championship female unit (Raffa and flight) in Bevagna (Perugia) and participating with all specialties, at the Mediterranean Games Pescara and the World Games in Taiwan.

(source FIB www.federbocce.it)