view of Salandra, Matera, Basilicata, Italy by Antonio DiPersia

Sunday, May 29, 2016


The photo above shows Eugenio “John” Ambruso with his bocce playing friends.  The photo was sent in by his granddaughter Maryanne Jordan Warrick.  It was taken in 1960 and shows the bocce players at the recreation center at 16th and Jackson Streets in South Philadelphia.  John was a bocce champ and had many trophies to prove it. 

My grandfather Michael Ambruso often told of playing bocce all Sunday afternoon in the side yard at his brother-in-law, Patsy Bonelli’s house in Garfield.  Probably drinking homemade wine from Patsy’s basement. 

Bocce was certainly a popular pastime with Italian-Americans in both South Philly and Garfield.  Can you share any memories of your Ambruso relatives playing bocce?  Were they good enough to win trophies like John Ambruso?

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