Bocce ball was first played in ancient Rome and is derived from the Italian word boccia, to bowl. A game of bocce begins with a player throwing the little ball, commonly called a jack, to the other end of the court. Players then take turns tossing balls to get as close as possible to the jack. You don't have to know jack to play, though, it's an easy game to learn! Given its Italian heritage, one might pair bocce with wine, negronis or Peronis. In fact, some Italian restaurants in Chicago have built their bocce courts to let patrons work up an appetite or work off their rigatonis. Head to Letizia's Fiore and Three Aces in Little Italy/University Village for some bites and bocce. Note: these are seasonal outdoor bocce courts, so your fun is at the mercy of Mother Nature.
Bocce has a French cousin named Petanque. Wherever you play and whoever you play bocce with, the key is having fun. If you grab a bocce ball set and head to the beach or a park you can create your own court!
In Chicago, there are both indoor and outdoor bocce courts, and several options for playing in a bocce ball league. American Bocce Co. partners with venues (primarily bars) like Clark Street Ale House and Chicago Distilling to run weekly adult bocce leagues around Chicago. American Bocce started as a leisurely bocce court in Wicker Park and is now a community of bocce lovers.
The City of Chicago also has seasonal public courts available, in Clarendon, McGuane, and Hiawatha parks.