Find: Authentic Olive Jars, Rugs, at Tsitalia Imports

It’s a sad fact that I won’t be traveling to the Mediterranean anytime soon. Even if I were, I doubt I would care to spend time hauling around or even shipping the great things I would find on my trip – especially knowing so many of them are already in town at Tsitalia Imports.

This giant warehouse of a store is full of pieces with the interesting textures and uniqueness that handmade items offer.  I spotted the olive jars right away and thought of the imitation jar I purchased from a home store catalog that arrived with “made in China” stamped across the box.  I could have had the real thing here, and in my choice of sizes.  The smallest jars start at less than $15, and a single piece or a small collection would beat the usual mass-produced accessories hands-down.

Colorful hand-loomed rugs come in all sizes; it was explained to me that they do not come in the precise standard sizes, since the final dimensions depend on the size of the artisan’s loom.  Many sell for $225.

I’ve admired these large glass jars when I’ve seen them as accessories, particularly when used as lamps (a lamp shop can french-wire them, meaning no holes are bored into the base).  These are quite large, so it would take a home of massive scale to do them justice, but any one of them would add character. If you’re splurging on a kitchen or bathroom makeover, you should check out the hand-hammered copper sinks that line the the shelves at Tsitalia.

Finally, anyone can enjoy the imported olives, olive oil, sea salts, and other products here.  Tsitailia is owned by the same family that owns Birmingham’s Southside Fish Market, so the food products are a natural fit.

Don’t let the rows of massive clay pots outside fool you; there are plenty of smaller, accessory-sized items indoors.  It’s worth your time to peek inside for inspiration and some interesting earthenware you won’t find at the mall.

BirminghamMom tip:  Give in to the craving and head to Fish Market for lunch.  The cypress trees outside and lemon tree inside will feel like a micro-vacation, and the grilled chicken salad is just as good as the shrimp salad if you’re not a seafood fan.