This watercolour was made after his first visit to Rome, between August 1819 and February 1820. Turner was delighted and overwhelmed by the trip: the ancient remains, the abundance of Renaissance and Baroque buildings, and the splendour of the city’s setting fired his imagination. This work was created as part of a set of Italian scenes for his friend and patron Walter Fawkes (1769-1825). The view Turner chose is highly ambitious. He depicted the city at sunset, looking in a south-easterly direction from just below the top of Monte Mario. On the right is the dome of St Peter’s; just to the right of the centre of the composition is the Castel Sant’ Angelo, and further to the left the Campidoglio. An idyllic image of a boy playing pipes to a demure girl in the forefront completes the scene.