Afloat in Florida

The next time you hail a cab in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., try one that floats. The city's fleet of water taxis is becoming one of the area's most popular means of transportation. Faster and cheaper than Venice's gondolas, the canal cabs are available for shopping and sightseeing excursions or quick trips to almost any destination on the inland waterways. The price per person for a short trip is $4 each way; an excursion ticket with unlimited rides for one day is $11; and the Frequent Floater pass, which covers an unlimited number of rides for a week, is $30. For reservations and information, call Water Taxi, (305) 565-5507.

When in Rome...

The Eternal City of Rome runs on its own time clock. Shops open at 9 a.m., except when they open at 10, and close anytime between 7 and 8:30 p.m. Most close between 1 and 4 p.m. -- except those that don't and those that reopen at 5 p.m. Concerts? They start at 9 p.m. ... or 7:30 ... or 5:30 (Sundays) ... or 10:30 a.m. Museums? Who knows.

Health Hot Line

Help with travel health questions is now just a touch-tone away. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta has started a 24-hour hotline, (404) 332-4559 (by touch-tone phone only), which provides information on international vaccination requirements and recommendations; current disease outbreaks worldwide; and AIDS and the foreign traveler. Requests for the centers' published material on travel and health also can be made through the International Travelers' Hotline.

TRAVEL TRIVIA

The so-called Spanish Steps in Rome get that popular name from the Piazza di Spagna at their base. What is the real name of the steps?

ANSWER BELOW

TRIVIA ANSWER: SCALINATA DELLA TRINITA DEI MONTI(THE CHURCH AT THE TOP OF THE STEPS)END NOTES

FAIR WARNINGS

The Aarhus Festival, Jutland, Denmark, Sept. 1-9.

Venice Regatta, Venice, Italy, Sept. 2.

Battle of Britain Shepway Festival, Folkestone, England, Sept. 8-16.

Brueghel Festival, Wingene, Belgium, Sept. 9.

FREE FOR THE ASKING

Rent-a-Wreck's directory lists more than 350 locations around the United States and in Australia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates. It is available free from Rent-a-Wreck, 6053 W. Century Blvd., Suite 550, Los Angeles, Calif. 90045, 1-800-535-1391.

"Britain for the Very Good Years," a booklet that details discounts and other bargains for senior citizens in Great Britain, is available free from the British Tourist Authority, (212) 581-4708.