Angelo Raffaele was born in Italy after WWII and then brought to America as an infant. Our family’s patriarch began a journey to discover his Italian heritage and “what it means to be Italian”.
In our search for the perfect Italian setting, we experienced a heaven-sent sign. Our travels brought us to the medieval city of Todi, where we discovered the statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi in the main piazza. The single piece of memorabilia that Angelo still owned from childhood was, you guessed it, a figurine of Garibaldi. We instantly felt a connection to Todi! Additionally, we discovered that in the 1990s, Richard S. Levine, a professor of architecture at the University of Kentucky, chose Todi as the model sustainable city, because of its scale and its ability to reinvent itself over time. The University of Kentucky voted Todi an “Ideal City”, a place in which nature and man, history and tradition combined to a point of worldwide excellence. Why is this significant you may ask? It is because Mary was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky and is part of the University of Kentucky Wildcat family. This was our cosmic sign that Todi was our new home away from home.
The Statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi in Todi
Over twenty years ago, our family’s roots were sewn into the Umbrian soil. After 6 years of owning a home overlooking the beautiful city of Todi, we purchased a “ruin” situated on 60 acres on the property called San Martino. As a result of its restoration— “one stone at a time”—we became immersed in the bounty of the land. As we continued to plant more olives, the harvests became more abundant and naturally, the next question was: “what are we going to do with all this oil”?
The Birth of a Company
In 2010, “Il Bel Cuore, LLC” was officially formed and we began selling our olive oil at the Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market “one bottle at a time” or “mano a mano” (hand to hand), as they say in Italian. We continue to receive an overwhelming response by this local community who cares deeply about the quality of their food, who grows it, and from where it comes.
We recently moved from Atlanta to St. Petersburg, FL. The tradition lives on through our website and phenomenal customer loyalty. Although Whitney has relocated to Orlando, FL, her love for Italy and “all things Italian” is being passed along to her son, Luke Angelo.
The Teeter Family: Brian, Mary, Angelo & Whitney