Instead of: Rome, Italy
You're hitting: Ephesus, Turkey
The Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum -- you can't throw a stone in Rome without hitting, well, some really old stones. Ephesus is similarly packed with ruins, but with far fewer tourists defaming them with graffiti. Plus, many of the ruins are free to visit; you can spend a very comfortable vacation in Turkey for around $50 a day. That's not happening in the Roman capital.
Now, for some history: Ephesus’ abundance of Roman ruins (because, of course, it was an ancient Roman city) is legendary -- archeologists have been excavating it for over 150 years and have only unearthed about 18% -- and much has been restored to replicate what the port city looked like 2,000 years ago when it was a bustling metropolis of 300,000 people. Highlights include the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Theatre, a 25,000-seat amphitheater where they still put on concerts, the Library of Celsius, and the Temple of Hadrian. There's even an old brothel, and what's believed to be an ad for it (carved in marble, naturally).