A “Vacation” at Casa Belvedere

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In the summer, I like to vacation in my own “backyard” and I define that as the five boroughs and suburbs of New York. I always enjoy discovering new fun neighborhoods, restaurants by bodies of water (of which there are many!) and hidden gems.

I found one such gem on the “Isle of Staten” as my dear friend Grae, a native Staten Islander, always calls the outer borough. Let me tell you about my “vacation” at Casa Belvedere.

Casa Belvedere, located on a country-like windy road is not only a spectacular architectural structure, it is a not for profit cultural institution that celebrates all things Italian, from food, to music, to language lessons, and at the same time provides a stunning mansion available to rent for private functions.

The mansion’s history is quite rich. Built in 1908 by the  Roebling-Stirn  family (The Roeblings built the Brooklyn Bridge)  Casa Belvedere is constructed  in an Italianate, Arts and Crafts architectural style,  complete with ornate columns, Mediterranean clay roof, arched window frames, decorative iron railings, small balconies, and front and rear verandas.  When you drive up to the front, I promise you, you will think you were just transported to Tuscany.

casa belvedere, staten island, valerie smalone, the three tomatoes

Now owned by The Italian Cultural Foundation and operated by Gina Biancardi, the mansion’s entire main floor has been meticulously and lovingly restored. However, the transformation  from a once private home to a public institution is ongoing, as 3/4 of the 14,000 square feet building has yet to be restored.  Casa Belvedere is a New York City Landmark Building and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was officially renamed “Casa Belvedere” in 2008 meaning “house with a beautiful view.”

This past Spring an innovative fundraising initiative was launched. Casa Belvedere  partnered with the acclaimed Bocelli restaurant to offer “The Belvedere Club by Bocelli.” This is a private supper club for members only, with fine dining offered to members and their guests on Thursday and Friday evenings from 4 to 10 PM. Funds from the club membership go toward the mansion’s operating expenses and new programming.

But now, for a limited time only, Casa Belvedere is making these gourmet dinners available to the public. I highly recommend getting in on this special offer to enjoy a fine dining experience, experience  the grandeur of the mansion, and the stunning views of New York Harbor and the Verrazano Bridge from the veranda or the dining room.

The evening we went, we were even treated to fireworks way off in the distance by Coney Island. It made for an absolutely perfect summer evening. Try your own “vacation” at Casa Belvedere.

casa belveder, staten island, valerie smaldone, the three tomatoes

For more information on these special dinners, programs at Casa Belvedere or information on how you can join the Belvedere Club by Bocelli, call
718-273-7660 or go to www.Casa-Belvedere.org. Dinner reservations are required and can be made at 718-420-6040


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