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Palla - an Italian village ball game

Palla is an Italian word for ‘ball’ and is a traditional street game played in villages of Italy especially in Grosseto and Siena. It is also named as ‘Pallaeh’ or ‘Palla EH’ mainly because of the fact that players call out the word ‘Eh!’ before serving.

Small-sized and hand-made balls are used to play this game. These balls contain lead pellets enfolded in wool and rubber with leather covering. Usually the sport is played from spring through summer.

It is a ball striking game played by facing teams with players all bare or gloved handed. There is no net but the courts are marked with lines on the town streets and the players will move between sides.

Scoring is the same as that of lawn tennis (e.g. 15-30-40-game). Analogous to real tennis, every second bounce leads to the ‘chase’ despite an outright score. The point where the ball stops rolling is marked in chalk. Everything that falls in the playing area, for instance, adjacent building and even the spectators are also considered a part of the game. The only possible pause occurs for the oncoming automobiles.

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