20 May 1931 – 13 December 2008
Bocce Champion of the century!
The Bocce Federation of Australia executive and members is saddened by the passing of the most famous champion of our sport.
History will record his achievements - he represented Italy 103 times, won 13 World titles, 12 European titles and 46 Italian titles. Umberto Granaglia holds a special place in the memories of Australian players. He visited Australia at the height of his career, firstly in 1976 on a promotional/demonstration tour, then in 1976 representing Italy at the World Doubles Championships in Melbourne.
In February 1976 at the invitation of the Bocce Federation of Australia, Umberto Granaglia and his playing partner Giancarlo Selva toured Australia. They covered over 60,000Km, visiting the cities of Melbourne, Dandynong, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, and Fremantle. During their journey, they competed against Australian Bocce teams in 120 encounters, while also demonstrating the finer points of the sport.
The First World Bocce Championship held in Australia, was in Melbourne in November 1979. This World Doubles Championship, contested by eleven nations, was won by the Italian team of Umberto Granaglia together with team mates Franco Benevene and Giancarlo Selva. They defeated the world class French team in the final, 15 points to 6 points. In this final game Granaglia acting as the shooter, scored an astounding 28 hits from 29 throws, with eight of these bowls remaining on court. A remarkable performance!
Again, in this visit, Umberto strengthened the Australian friendships he had made during his first visit in 1976.
Despite his status in the world of bocce, Granaglia was humble in his demeanor, a little timid but always willing to meet and mix with players.
In 2005, during the World Senior Men’s Championships in Torino, Granaglia welcomed a new generation of Australian players in Anthony Parlato and Santo Pascuzzi. And regardless of his failing health due to a stroke, he recalled his visits to Australia and the goodwill that had been built up during those visits.
His roots were from Friuli and the Veneto. His father was from Monselice prov. di Padova and his mother from Pocenia, Friuli. Umberto was born in Venaria Reale, the area of Piemonte where his parents had first met and settled. He passed away in Buttigliera Alta, Torino.
Umberto Granaglia is a bocce legend of our time!
Vale Umberto Granaglia
Bocce Federation of Australia 15-12-2008