Finalmente, se noi vogliamo haver rispetto al piacer dell’animo, e al giovamento del corpo, che dal giuoco della Palla puo derivare nell’uno, e nell’altro canto; quello della corda è di gran lunga superiore a glialtri...”

Antonio Scaino, Trattato del Giuoco della Palla - 1555

The Club delle Balette is a cultural association wanted by tennis reporter Gianni Clerici whose aim is to promote and study the origins in Italy of ball games which have now evolved into widely practised disciplines. In particular, last century’s discovery of some “balette” – small leather balls dating from Renaissance times - in Jesi, Mantua and Urbino, rekindled interest in a sport that can be considered the forefather of the current game of tennis: real tennis or “pallacorda” in Italian. The club is the wish come true of journalist Gianni Clerici, universally known as the tennis “storyteller”, for a project to give new life to the game of real tennis in Italy. Thanks to his unique idea, the club can show the world the cultural magnificence and adventures of the formidable history of tennis.

Together with Nicola Pietrangeli, Gianni Clerici is the only Italian in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, one of the most important museums in the world on the history of tennis.
No other sports reporter or historian possesses comparable knowledge of the present and past of this sport.
Tennis is not only a sporting discipline, but culture, thanks to his research, commitment, careful investigations, in-depth knowledge and passion.

The Club


Thanks to the enthusiasm of a group of scholars and tennis lovers, the dream of Gianni Clerici came true with the foundation of the Club delle Balette. Clerici is honorary chairperson of the cultural association whose goal is to strengthen the bond of tennis with its origins. Conscious of the value of history and memory, it aims to spread knowledge of the context in which the game of real tennis became popular and therefore increase appreciation of the richness of the discipline and the emotions that it arouses...


When was the game of tennis born?
The literature helps us to define a historical period thanks to the Trattato del Giuoco della Pallacorda by Abbot Antonio Scaino da Salò, published in 1555 and dedicated to Prince Alfonso d’Este, son of Ercole II, Duke of Ferrara.
Scaino set down the rules of a game, played first in Italy and then all over Europe, whose popularity in Italy can be seen in the “balette”, forerunners of present-day tennis balls...



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