Staten Island Italian Culture: From “Arrivederci” to Zeppoles
Casa Belvedere, soon to become Staten Island’s own Italian Cultural Foundation, will be a beacon for Italian culture in New York City. It has found a welcome home in the borough, as Staten Island is a diverse community that has a large representation of Italian-Americans. Over the past century, many Italians came to America and settled in Staten Island, bringing with them a rich language and culture that has become such a part of the every day life of Staten Islanders.
Ask someone who lives on Staten Island to name one of the best parts of living in a place with such a vibrant Italian culture and he or she invariably will say, “The food!” Yes, Staten Island is known for its countless ristorantes, trattorias, and cafes, all of which serve up tasty Northern and Southern Italian fare. From pasta to gnocchi, cannoli to zeppoli, it’s never a dull moment for those looking to savor the tastes of the Old World. In a word, Staten Island Italian culture is delicioso!
But as any Italian will tell you, being Italian goes well beyond the dinner table. Italians carry in their blood the many centuries of art, music, performance, exploration, discovery, and all of the various talents and great deeds with which Italians have been credited in the country’s illustrious history. When Italian immigrants first came to Ellis Island, later settling in Staten Island and other parts of New York City, they did not leave this rich heritage behind, but rather brought it with them to share with the future generations that would be born and raised on America’s shores.
Staten Island is the perfect place for Casa Belvedere as there is such a wide and receptive audience to the preservation of Italian culture in Staten Island. The grounds of the Renaissance-styled Casa Belvedere mansion are a nod to the beautiful homes found in Italy itself. Though our beautiful views are of the New York City skyline rather than Roman churches or Tuscan olive gardens, the culture of Italy is still very much alive and well on Staten Island.
What place on Staten Island best epitomizes Italian culture?