In one of the most lavish neighborhoods on Staten Island, Grymes Hill, Casa Belvedere resides there as a cultural inspiration. Previously just a 100 year old home built for prominent members of New York (the granddaughters of the Brooklyn Bridge builder, Louis and Laura Stirn) it has been transformed into an Italian cultural center. Constructed in 1908 the three acre estate was just one of the beautiful homes that were scattered on Staten Island, including the Vanderbilt home not so far from it. Today it has been renamed Casa Belvedere which means “house with a beautiful view” which is arguably perfectly fitting since it has a breath taking view of the New York Harbor as well as the Verrazano Bridge. The home has been a New York City historic landmark since 2006. Today its is a cultural center devoted to Italian studies thanks to Gina Biancardi.
History Behind Casa Belvedere
Biancardi watched the house go in and out of sales for years and eventually in 2008 she finally made her decision to purchase it. Being over 100 years old and vacant since 2004, Biancardi had a workload on her hands. This did not faze Biancardi whatsoever, she quickly renovated the space and it soon returned back to its former glory. She had even obtained old photos of the original home and revamped the entire property. Without a doubt, as soon as the home was renovated, Biancardi immediately turned it into an Italian culture center.
Since 2009, Casa Belvedere has been teaching Italian culture, as well as enriching the next generation about the culture. At first, it began with movie showings and small language classes. It soon grew and grew due to Biancardis drive and love for spreading the Italian culture. As the programs flourished, Biancardi implemented even more such as advanced language classes and a cooking class. She states that "food is the center of our heritage" so she even started a dining club membership in 2014 called the "Belvedere Club." Through these great programs, exhibits, and events being offered at Casa Belvadere, Italian art, literature, and cuisine is greatly represented here on Staten Island. Thanks to this cultural foundation, there have been so many contributions of Italian and American Italian culture here in the United States as a whole. For those who aren’t of Italian origin, Casa Belvedere’s myriad of arts and cultural program offerings provide a Renaissance learning experience, as well as a place to call their home away from home.