Today we will still be discussing the previously mentioned 28 person, 2 donkey hamlet of Fellicarolo. Specifically we will be discussing one of Fellicaro's first loves; bocce ball. Bocce is taken very seriously, almost as a religious experience, and therefore must be adjacent to a church. Fellicarolo's church/bocce complex for religion/sports is pictured above.
In a town of with a population of 28 there were no less than 24 of them at the bocce ball court any time I passed by the church on my way to or from town. There were 2 weird things I noticed about these bocce ball matches.
1) The 1st is that the 24+ regular players I observed were all over 80 years old. Since the population of the town is 28, I guess the other 4 citizens of the town are younger and are in charge of procreation to ensure the continued populating of Fellicarolo into the future.
2) The 2nd weird thing is that these octogenarians were holding bocce balls, but I rarely ever saw anyone actually throw one. There was a lot of arm flailing and screaming and some bad Italian words my grandmother used to call me, but there was not a lot of actual bocce going on. When I would walk by the debates ranged from whose ball was closer to why America sucks to how in the past EVERYTHING used to be better. Based on the game tempo I witnessed, the October 8th, 2010 town tournament advertised below may actually overlap the start of the 2011 tournament.
1-If you did not believe me when I said Fellicarolo takes their bocce very seriously, just look closely at the poster and notice that they spell B-O-C-C-E using the 5 Olympic Rings to represent each individual letter. Apparently, this isn't just any town bocce tournament; this is the Bocce Olympics and Fellicarrolo is ground zero for the biggest, baddest bocciers in the world.
2- The second observation stems from the fact that this sign was up at all. I arrived in Fellicarrolo in early August; The poster was weathered and looked to be at least two months old and the adult tournament does not take place for another TWO months on October 8th. HOW do you need 4 months to promote a town bocce ball tournament when out of the 28 person population, 24 of those 28 people can be found regularly at the bocce court. Couldn't they instead just have the following conversation on October 7th,
Giuseppe: Hey, let's have our Bocce Olympics tomorrow? All in favor say 'Si'.
23 other old men at the bocce court: Si!!
Giuseppe: Okay, and whose not here? Giovanni, you go tell Angelo, Emilio, and Enzo, and tell him his rooster cannot enter this year and he owes me a goat.
3- You'll notice the sign says, "Vi aspettiamo numerosi" which translates to "We expect many." The reason it is in quotes is because even though it's full participation, 28 people hardly qualifies as "many."