➊ STUFFED DATES,
Some say appetizer, some say dessert. Either way, Tartine’s dates stuffed with bacon, goat cheese and port wine are divine. $8
➋ ROSARY-MAKING SESSION,
When Laura Jacobs opened Embellish, she was surprised at how many people came in looking to make a rosary. Then she discovered Rocky River’s vast Irish and Italian Catholic population. Prices vary, but start at $18 and increase depending on bead and material selection.
➌ MARISA BARATELLI SILK CLOTHING,
Newscasters wear Marisa Baratelli’s hand-dyed, hand-loomed Thai silk separates and gowns because they look great on camera, but we think they’ll look just as great off camera and on you. $295-$1,400
➍ CUSTOM PRINTED INVITATIONS,
Paper Trails of Rocky River
If you want the ultimate personal touch, splurge on custom invites. They’ll even color-match ink. $29.25 for 20 (unprinted), $49.25 for 20 (printed), $64.25 for 20 (printed with return and mailing address)
Looking through Solari’s windows, you see the reds, yellows and greens jump from the walls like Roman candle bursts.
“People come in all the time saying, ‘We want our house to look like this,’ ” says Solari co-owner Terrie Viets. Customers have brought in painters, architects and even builders to copy the interior. “It’s pretty amazing.”
Solari’s assortment of Italian imports is equally striking: Murano glass jewelry, vases, biscotti jars, table linens, glasses and flatware by Bugatti, the Italian sports car company.
Viets and co-owner Jane Clark visit Italy at least once a year to choose their inventory. “We’ve done that since we opened,” Clark says. They met when their kids attended Lake Ridge Academy together and opened their store a little more than seven years ago.
They travel to Venice to buy jewelry and art, but the co-owners — neither of whom are Italian, by the way — also go to Deruta, Umbria, Sicily, Milan, Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast.
“Everything that we have is done by hand; everything is painted by hand.” Clark says. “It makes a big difference.”
Plus, touring their vendors’ factories gives them insight into how a product is made and how durable it is. “We want to educate our customer as to why it’s such a different product,” Clark says, flipping through photos from such tours. “We can show them how many artisans it takes just to make one piece.”
Solari also hosts cooking lessons. Past instructors have hailed from Flying Fig, Parallax, Pier W and Stino da Napoli.
In their quest to offer all things Italian, they will soon add language lessons. They already offer in-home decorating consultations to help emulate the store.
After all, Clark says, “Everybody loves Italy.”
shops & boutiques
12:00 AM EST
March 25, 2010