Combining Horses And HospitalityÂ
Wellington Is A Perfect Fit For Businesswomen And Equestrian Michelle Durpetti
It is a rare occurrence to catch Michelle Durpetti without her hands full.
One moment, Durpettiâ€™s fingers are curled around her horsesâ€™ reins; the next, they are gripping a clipboard as she juggles her duties as an event planner. On another day, her hands could be balancing a plate of food as she works as the managing partner of her familyâ€™s Gene & Georgetti restaurant in Chicago, or they could be gripping a broom as she sweeps the aisle at her own Andiamo Farm here in Wellington.
For as occupied as Durpettiâ€™s hands may be in her many roles, she has found life in Wellington to be equally as full: full of dreams, opportunities and, of course, horses.
While Durpetti hails from Chicago, she made her first visit to Wellington more than 20 years ago and immediately fell in love with the community and what it represented to her as a young equestrian.
â€œI began competing down here when I was 19, and my very first handy class in the amateur owner hunters happened here! It was on the grass, too, which is such a great memory,â€ said Durpetti, who continues to compete as an amateur in both the hunters and the jumpers. â€œIt was so special to come down to Florida to compete back then as, up until a short while before that, many of us in the Midwest would compete at indoor facilities throughout the winter. So, the idea of coming down to a place like this and then being able to see some of the biggest names in the community right in front of you riding was so special.â€
Throughout the decades that followed, Durpetti made frequent trips to Wellington and South Florida to compete and to enjoy many life moments â€” including getting married at the Breakers Palm Beach in 2018.
â€œWhat I think I loved the most about [my wedding day] â€” aside from marrying my wonderful husband, Collin, who is so supportive of the equestrian elements in our lives â€” was that I was able to drive to Wellington and feed my horses breakfast that morning before getting ready. That is a moment I will never forget. To have them with me on such an important day was truly so special,â€ Durpetti said.
Despite Durpettiâ€™s fondness for the area and the many treasured memories made in Wellington, she never called Wellington a permanent home. That was until a great opportunity presented itself in 2022, an opportunity that had Durpetti saying, â€œAndiamo!â€ or â€œLetâ€™s go!â€
â€œAs a child, my Italian grandfather, Gene Michelotti, was always telling us, â€˜Andiamo! Andiamo!â€™ It means â€˜letâ€™s goâ€™ when you translate it, or â€˜we go.â€™ After a while, we sort of just adopted it as a mindset for our family,â€ said Durpetti, whose family is of Italian descent, specifically from Lucca, Italy, in the heart of Tuscany.
Roughly 25 years ago, in honor of Durpettiâ€™s grandfather and the familyâ€™s catch phrase, Durpettiâ€™s father acquired a new, beloved boat and named it the â€œAndiamo.â€
â€œUltimately, due to some health issues of [my fatherâ€™s], we had to sell [the boat] a few years ago,â€ Durpetti explained. â€œIt was such a heartbreaking time for our family, as we had so many memories on that boat. However, adopting that same mentality of â€˜letâ€™s goâ€™ or letâ€™s move forward, as a family we did just that.â€
This led to Durpettiâ€™s farm in Wellington. â€œAbout a year or two later, our wonderful home in Wellington found us, and I just knew immediately that it would be the next iteration of â€˜letâ€™s goâ€™ for our family,â€ she said.
With the acquisition of peaceful farm property in Wellingtonâ€™s Paddock Park neighborhood, Andiamo Farm was born.
â€œWe gave the name to the farm as well to both honor the beloved boat that was so wonderful to us, and this idea that together, we move forward and accomplish great things and get through painful things,â€ Durpetti said. â€œSo, itâ€™s very symbolic for me and immensely personal, too.â€
Today, Andiamo Farm is the quiet oasis where Durpetti is fulfilling a lifelong dream of owning and operating her own property â€” both for her own horses as well as boarders. But that is not the only dream Durpetti is pursuing in Florida.
The Village of Wellington not only provides a hub for equestrians, but it is also a hotspot for hospitality, Durpettiâ€™s other love and area of expertise.
â€œI am so thrilled to have my event planning and wedding production company now based down here in South Florida,â€ said Durpetti, who operates Michelle Durpetti Events, an industry leader in wedding planning.
Durpetti has great aspirations for her event-planning company in South Florida, and she also hopes to one day â€” in the not-too-distant future â€” bring a taste of her familyâ€™s legendary Chicago steakhouse, Gene & Georgetti, to South Florida as well.
â€œWe have been working on bringing our family restaurant down to South Florida for the past couple of years, and that is something I am so excited about,â€ Durpetti said. â€œI am also thrilled to be working with a wonderful couple this May on their beautiful Palm Beach wedding, and my bride happens to be an equestrian. That always just makes my heart so happy when two of my most favorite worlds come together!â€
Durpetti is excited to think about what the future holds in store.
â€œI think that is what I am hoping for here in Wellington â€” to continue to flourish with my horses, to continue to grow my planning company and plan amazing celebrations down here for equestrians and non-equestrians alike,â€ she said.