The other day I stumbled upon the Arabic word طاولة "tawila".
It occurred to me that it in fact sounds quite close to Italian "tavolo".
Is this just coincidental or was the word loaned in either direction at some point in time?
It is true that the Italian word tavola comes from the Latin tabŭla of uncertain origin. But the Etymological Dictionary of Latin by Michiel de Vaan can help shed some light into that uncertainty, and at least show that a Semitic origin is unlikely.
According to de Vaan, it comes from an original Proto-Italic form, either *taf or *taþla. It has an attested cognate tafle in Umbrian ("instrument for transporting the sacrificial fire").
If the Proto-Italic form was *taþla, it is probably coming from a root *ta- plus an instrumental suffix *-dʰlo, with the root coming a from s-less *steh₂- (the origin of the Latin stāre, to stand) as in the Proto-Tocharian and Proto-Celtic *tā- (which also means "to stand").
So, in brief the etymology of tabŭla is likely Indoeuropean, cognate of stāre (cfr. stābilis). Even if this hypothesis is not correct, it will still come from Proto-Italic and so a Semitic loan is very unlikely (especially since the possible Proto-Italic roots look very different from the Arabic word).
As Charo said in the comments it seems that the borrowing went in the other direction
According to Hans Wehr's 4th edition of Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic the Arabic word طاولة comes from the Italian "tavola" -- Charo