Tamburello (named Tambass in Piedmont) is a court game invented in the northern provinces of Italy during the 16th century. It is a modification of the ancient game of pallone col bracciale, bearing the same general relation to it as Squash does to Racquets. Nowadays various forms of tamburello are popular in many nations of the world.
This form is played at professional level in Italy where there are two varieties: the first kind taking place in a specialised sports venue called a sphaeristerium (sferisterio in Italian), with a lateral wall which permits the ball to rebound; the second kind being played in an open playing field without a lateral wall. A full-sized tamburello court, which need not be as true and even as that for pallone, is 90 to 100 yards (82 to 91 m) long and half as wide, divided laterally through the middle by a line (cordino) into two equal spaces, the battuta and the rimessa. Five players regularly form a side, each carrying in one hand an implement called a tamburello, resembling a tambourine (whence the name), which is a round frame of wood over which a cover of horsehide is tightly stretched. A rubber ball generally larger than a tennis ball is used. One of the players opens the service (battuta), which begins from a small square called the trampolino, situated at one corner of the battuta but outside the court. The service must be over the middle line. The ball must then be hit from side to side over the line, the side failing to return it or sending it out of court losing a point. The game is scored like lawn tennis, four points constituting a game, counting 15+15+10+10.
- Chisholm 1911, p. 388.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Tamburello". Encyclopædia Britannica 26 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 388.