Venice is a city for lovers young and old, an exotic dream-like place where romance flourishes and couples, even among the thronging tourists, can be alone.

How do you enjoy this aspect of Venice? Leave your practical self at home and indulge in the fantasies the city so graciously provides.

*Stay in one of the palacial hotels on the Grand Canal. There is nothing like regal surroundings from the past to enhance the feeling that this is one of life's special moments. Two very regal hotels are the Danieli and the Gritti Palace, among the world's finest.

*Hire a private motor launch. They are the limousines of Venice's canals and an elegant way to be delivered to your hotel dock.

*Forget, for a while, the city's art treasures. That's where the crowds swarm. Instead, lose yourself in twisting walkways that inevitably lead to a neighborhood piazza.

*Linger at Florian's in late afternoon. The most famous of Venetian cafe's, dating from the early 18th century, it opens onto Piazza San Marco, the beautiful heart of Venice. Sip a glass of wine at an outdoor table, listen to a small orchestra play Cole Porter's sophisticated tunes and take in the busy, festive scene of day's end.

*Go for a gondola ride at sunset. The city is transformed to burnished gold beneath the sun's last rays, and from the vantage of a gliding gondola it seems as if the spectacle were created for you alone.

*Don't forget the champagne. Arrange at your hotel for a chilled bottle and three glasses. Pop the cork on the Grand Canal, serving yourself and, naturally, the gondolier. He's apt to reward you with a trip down Venice's loveliest waterways.

*End the day with dinner at the Gritti Palace Hotel. The elegant terrace restaurant, open to the summer air, sits right on the Grand Canal. While you dine, the lights of the boats dance in the background. In time, your gondolier will pass by with other passengers, but he'll pause a moment to wink and tip his hat to you. Venetians love lovers.