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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

An Italian night in NYC

Dear friends,

My BLOG today is dedicated to my own country Italy, a place I love with all my heart!! This coming Thursday, March 17th it will be the 150 anniversary of the Unity of Italy and I will have the honor to perform in honor of this special Celebration in Queens at the Christ the King Theatre at an event organized by the Associazione Culturale Italiana Di New York.
So even if I’m living in NYC, Italy is still in every day life, actually even more than when I was in Italy. Living in a foreign country really made me appreciate more my own Italy and my being Italian. And I get to meet so many people that just like me embrace their Italian heritage with so much passion and devotion.

With the wonderful Gina Biancardi & Toni Elliott
Last Friday I was invited to attend the Annual Gala of the Scuola D’Italia Guglielmo Marconi in NYC. The elegant Gala attended by more than 500 people took place in the beautiful Cipriani on 42nd Street. I was invited by the Gina Biancardi to be her guest at the table of Casa Belvedere.
Gina it’s for sure one of the most wonderful persons I met thanks to my music.
Gina is a wonderful mother of three that had the dream to do something to promote and divulgate Italian culture in America. So in November 2008, together with her husband Luciano, they purchased a beautiful mansion in Staten Island, the island across Manhattan, with the dream of restoring it to its original splendor while converting it to an arts and cultural center for the community to enjoy.
Casa Belvedere
The name of this incredible splendid place is Casa Belvedere. Well Casa Belvedere has for sure an impressive view from its location at 79 Howard Avenue in Staten Island. Casa Belvedere, is a New York City historic landmark, and sits on nearly three acres atop Grymes Hill and boasts a spectacular view of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and the New York City Harbor.
With wonderful Toni Eliott
Vito Catalano a wonderful friend and the official photographer of ALL the Italian Events in NYC!!
It is so wonderful to see how a young woman like Gina with her dedication and enthusiasm to preserve and promote an appreciation of Italian language, arts, literature, history, fashion, cuisine, has been able to create such a wonderful place like Casa Belvedere where people can attend innovative programs to lean Italian, but also see beautiful and interesting exhibits, and music and cultural events. The Casa Belvedere plans to officially open its doors to the restored mansion in September of 2011, but they are already doing so many wonderful events and offering already a variety of classes to learn Italian for toddlers, children, teens and adults. They are also had for the first time in 2010 a Summer Camp for Children of Ages 7-9. The acquisition of language skills at an early age can for sure facilitate academic success in the future and during their summer camp of Casa Belvedere really is able to engage the children in learning activities fun and stimulating. The children are learning language and culture through games, music and group activities and this is for sure the best way to go with young kids. Some of the Summer Camp activities included learning Latin roots, something I learned in Italy too and that was very useful for me in the beginning of my stay in the USA when my English was basic, but they also teach the kids to appreciate Italian foods, making Carnevale masks and some very typical Italian card games like Assoprendetutto, Sette e mezzo and Tombola.
So they really create little Italian souls at Casa Belvedere.

And as you can imagine I can’t wait to be at Casa Belvedere with my musicians to bring some Italian culture at this beautiful place.

I’m so honored to be friend of Gina a very inspiring person that follow her passion to create a unique place for the Italian lovers where people can learn the language but also learn everything Italian, like our traditions, our dishes and everything else about being Italian. And I surely love her uplifting and happy personality!! Gina has for sure my friendship and my support. She’s great!

The dancing fun!!
So it was wonderful to be guest of her table. The Gala of the Scuola d’Italia was very well attended. Almost all the important people of the Italian community where present, like the Italian Ambassador of the United Nation, Mr. Terzi and the Italian Consul in NYC Mr. Talo’.
To make the event very fun was the presence of the students of the school. They had actually a very active role: they sang the Italian, the American and the European Anthems and of course they dance like crazy when the music started to play!!
It was wonderful to see many young kids behaving greatly and still acting like teenagers. The Scoula D’Italia is doing for sure a great work. Those kids can speak perfect Italian and English.
La Scuola d'Italia “Guglielmo Marconi” was founded in 1977 by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to meet the academic needs of Italians living in the New York City area.
The students singing the Italian National Anthem 
Thanks to an increasing interest on the part of the American families, La Scuola has grown into a unique bilingual and bi-curricular education institution, from the Preschool level through Liceo (grades 9-12), reflecting the best features of the Italian and American instruction systems.
La Scuola is committed to fostering international understanding and openness in order to prepare students to become citizens of the world. La Scuola d’Italia is also legally recognized by the Italian Ministry of Education and chartered by the Regents of the University of the State of New York as a private, independent, co-educational American school.
With my dear friend Contessa Francesca Baldeschi
Master of Ceremony was my dear friend and presenter of the popular TV program in “Brindiamo”, my fellow Italian Ornella Fado. Of course being in NYC for 6 years now I really got to know a lot of people in the Italian community, so it was fun to see all my friends.
With Ornella Fado MC of the night
A perfect NYC night with great friends and so much proud Italians and even more Italian lovers.
Thank you Gina for the invitation and congratulation for her wonderful Casa Belvedere!! Check it out it is a wonderful place!!

And stay tuned for my next adventures!!
 Love always,
Giada Valenti


  1. I like what Casa Belvedere is doing. I really do.

  2. A Very nice and interesting blog about Italian community in the NYC area!!!

    Great initiative of Gina about Casa Belvedere!!!!

    Happy 150°anniversary of Italian Unity, Dear Giada!!!!


  3. Dear Giada,

    A new nice blog to discover what the italian community is able to do to promote its identity :-)

    Casa Belvedere seems really to be a wonderful place that i would like to visit when i will comme to NY :-) And if i'm not italian (but a proud frenchie ;-) ) I encourage Gina Biancardi and La scuola d'Italia in all their projects and works. I love Italy...Our countries are cousins :-)

    Well Giada, i'm happy to think that one day (hoping sooner) you will be invited to sing on the beautiful Casa Belvedere :-) The students will appreciate your show for sure !

    Love u


  4. I attended the Concert yesterday at the Sheen enter. It was uplifting, moving and
    Awesome. Giada’s voice and personality had us riveted!!!! Don’t miss her when she is back in Town