Located on Grymes Hill in Staten Island, Casa Belvedere was built in 1908 by Louis A. Stirn and Laura Roebling-Stirn and was then known as Stirn Mansion. The building, with its Italianate-style, neo-Renaissance exterior, and its arts & crafts style interior, is of great historical significance. It is a New York City Landmark and is listed on the New York State and National Register of Historic Places.
In 2010, the mansion was donated to the Italian Cultural Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Italian art and culture. Since then, Casa Belvedere has worked to foster the general public’s knowledge and appreciation of Italian language, arts, cuisine, history, music, fashion, and commerce through educational programs, exhibitions and special events.
Among the activities it offers are language and cooking classes, musical performances, a film festival, art exhibitions, fashion shows, car shows, lectures, book presentations, gardening classes, and bocce lessons just to name a few.
The foundation’s mission also includes the preservation of Casa Belvedere itself, where all the activities are held. The building suffered severe damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and has been undergoing vast reparations. The upper level rooms however, are still in need of restoration.
For this reason, the foundation is asking for people’s vote in the 2019 Partners in Preservation: Main Streets campaign to help them win a grant that will allow for the repairs and enable them to turn those rooms into additional galleries.
Partners in Preservation is an initiative created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express to engage the public in preserving and increasing awareness of America’s historic places and their role in sustaining local communities. The main street campaign, which runs from September 24th to October 29th, invites the public to vote once a day for up to five Main Street projects to determine which sites will receive $2 million in preservation funding.