Even with the weak dollar, there are two things in Italy which are still cheaper than in America: A cappuccino and fine, hand-made Italian frames. I thought I would post a plug for my framer here in Italy, Piero Franceschi, in honor of his new website.
I’ve used Piero for all my framing needs for about 15 years now. He makes some of the most beautiful frames around for a fraction of what I have paid in the U.S. or England, even when shipping is included in the price.
At the moment I’m very partial to the ‘Cassetta’ style frame. Its a 15th century Florentine frame design which still seems very modern (probably because the ubiquitous Californian plein air frames are based on this model).
For shipping you can use Mailboxes Etc. here in Florence, their store is always full of crates of art heading over the Atlantic. Ask for Paolo (they speak English). For anything over Fed-Ex’s size limit I would recommend Galli for the costs. Both shippers know Piero and you don’t need export permits on just frames which saves a bit of money.
Whatever you do though, do not order frames from Italy in inches. They will not convert the measurements and you will receive tiny little frames back. Use google to convert the sizes (just type in x inches to cm) or, as I did, print out this customizable table.