Osia Antica, Italy

I had a super-long layover at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, so I took a bus and short train to Scavi Ostia Antica, the archeological site of the first harbour city of ancient Rome. When it was founded in 700BC, it was on the coast at the mouth of the Tiber River, but is now 2 miles from the sea. Under-rated and under-visited, I had the entire ruined city to myself one afternoon, for an hour and a half until it closed. I recommend giving yourself more time, as it’s really huge and there is a lot to look at and climb around in. There are gorgeous mosaics and statues, an amphitheatre and temple. The city was abandoned with the fall of the Roman empire. Much better than just going to the Leonardo da Vinci shopping mall (But I did that, too. It was a looooong layover.)

By: Sarah Landau