1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pallone

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PALLONE (Italian for “large ball,” from palla, ball), the national ball game of Italy. It is descended, as are all other court games, such as tennis and peclota, from the two ball games played by the Romans, in one of which a large inflated ball, called follis, was used. The other, probably the immediate ancestor of pallone, was played with a smaller ball, the pila. Pallone was played in Tuscany as early as the 14th century, and is still very popular in northern and central Italy. It is played in a court (sferisterio), usually 100 yds. long and 17 yds. wide. A white line crosses the middle of the court, which is bounded on one side by a high wall, the spectators sitting round the other three sides, usually protected by wire screens. One end of the court is called the battuta and the other the ribtattuta. At the end of the battuta is placed a spring-board, upon which stands the player who receives the service. The implements of the game are the pallone (ball) and the bracciale (bat). The pallone is an inflated ball covered with leather, about 45 in. in diameter. The bracciale is an oak gauntlet, tubular in shape, and covered with long spike-like protuberances. It weighs between five and six pounds and is provided with a grip for the hand. The game is played by two sides—blues and reds—of three men each, the battitore (batter), spalla (back) and terzino (third). At the beginning of a game the battitore stands on the spring-board and receives the ball thrown to him on the bound by a seventh player, the mandarino, who does duty for both sides. The batter may ignore the ball until it comes to him to his liking, when he runs down the spring-board and strikes it with his bracciale over the centre line towards his opponents. The game then proceeds until a player fails to return the ball correctly, or hits it out of bounds, or it touches his person. This counts a point for the adversary. Four points make a game, counting 15, 30, 40 and 50.

See Il Giuoco del pallone, by G. Franceschini (Milan, 1903).