Just Back From

An LA based Photographer Uncovers Venice's Hidden Secrets

by Amanda Marsalis
All photos by Amanda Marsalis.

Photographer Amanda Marsalis was born to travel (her father was pilot; her mother, a flight attendant). Recently, she traded the freeways of Los Angeles, Calfornia, for the waterways of Venice, Italy, for a week.

So, what brought you to Venice? I had an opening to celebrate the launch of my book Reproduction published by Automatic Books, a company based in Venice.

How often do you go? I have been here four times in the last two years, including this trip. I shot a travel story, went back for a friend's art opening, vacationed there last summer, and went for my own opening and book launch.

What was the best tip you got before you left? I have a friend in New York, Alessandro, who grew up just outside Venice. He put me in touch with the guys who eventually published my book. Having locals as friends always makes a place more fun, too.

How did you get there? I flew LAX to MUN to VCE, and on the way home I flew VCE to ZRH to LAX. I was impressed with the lounges at both the Munich and Zurich airports. Flying over a cool, green, raining Switzerland was beautiful after a week of Italian sun and heat. I desperately wanted to stay and feel the damp wet air for a few days!

Where did you stay? A little family-run hotel in Dorsoduro called Hotel Americano. Not fancy, but good in a simple way. I had a room over the canal.

Amanda in Venice

What did you do? The first few days were spent preparing for the opening, which was a kind of recreation of where I shot all the flower photographs in Los Angeles. I had to find flowers to use in the installation, and then figure out a way to get them to Venice — via boat. Then I spent two days on the beach in Jesolo, just up the coast from Venice.

rose barge

Beach Day

This was especially great: Having my dear friend Kate fly in from London to celebrate the opening with me. 

But this wasn't: The heat wave the week I was there.

Let's talk about stuff.
1. Glad you packed: A sun hat.
2. Wish you'd packed: I did a pretty good job and wasn't missing anything this trip.
3. Didn't need: Layers.
4. Brought back: My new book!

Speed round of favorites:
1. Meal or meals: The pumpkin flan at La Zucca.
2. Neighborhood to explore: Dorsoduro.
3. Site/place/thing you did: Drank prosecco with friends everyday at 5 p.m. 
4. Cafe/casual hangout: Cantinone Gia Schiavi.

What's the local speciality? The Venetians all seem to eat standing up. Delicious quick cicchetti — standing along a canal or in a square. Every meal I had with local friends was eaten this way.

Were you there for the right amount of time? Yes. It was perfect — the week in the city, two days at the beach, and then back on a plane to Los Angeles.

One thing/place you didn't get to visit, but wanted to: I could have spent more time at Harry's Bar having Bellinis. My local friends will never go there, but I do not care if it is for tourists only. I love it!

What's the #1 tip you'd give a friend who wanted to go? Rent an apartment instead of getting a hotel. Live like a local as much as possible.

You can't stop thinking about: The pastries at Pasticceria Tonolo.

Would you go back? Without a doubt.


fruit stand


Venice Square


Bye Venice


To order Reproduction, by Amanda Marsalis, go to automaticbooks.com.


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