Whenever I travel, I always try to seek out local mosques. There are spectacular odes to marble and calligraphy across the "Muslim" world and far beyond, ranging from the mammoth Hassan II mosque in Casablanca to a charming sea-green confection in Cape Town, from the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad to a gold-domed structure in unlikely Toledo, Ohio. They range from ancient to modern, massive to minute. In Rome, I trekked a little ways out of the city in search of one of Europe's biggest mosques, and aesthetically, this postmodern wonder didn't disappoint — it's a true commingling of Islamic influences and modern Italian design. Though I was there between prayers, I was amazed at how deserted it seemed — when you're the only five people in a structure created to serve 12,000, it seems all the more cavernous. So we enjoyed the ethereal space by ourselves, appreciating the chance to have a serene moment of meditation before heading back to the bustle of Rome.