The subject of this sketch is a view of Tivoli with the Rocca Pia, a massive fortress with four crenallated towers, built by Pope Pius II in 1461.1 Turner’s viewpoint is from the east side of the castle and to the left can be seen the arches of the Acquedotto Rivellese, a sixteenth-century aqueduct built by Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este to supply water to the Villa d’Este. The aqueduct was demolished at the beginning of the twentieth century. The building on the left-hand side is currently unidentified although it may be the same on depicted in folio 75 (D15066; Turner Bequest CLXXIX 74). In the bottom left-hand corner, Turner has included some female figures.
Further views of the Rocca Pia can be found on folio 68 verso, 74 verso–76, 82 verso, 83 verso (D15055, D15065–D15069, D15082, D15084; Turner Bequest CLXXIX 68a, 73a–5, 81a, 82a). As a young man, Turner made copies of related views by other artists, see Dr Monro’s Album of Italian Views (Tate D36453 and D36454; Turner Bequest CCCLXXIII 40).
Compare a watercolour by Friedrich Horner (1800–1864), Il Castello di Tivoli 1850, reproduced in colour in Silvia Visino, I Pittori del Grand Tour: Viaggio a Roma alla ricerca delle aure, Latina 1994, no.55, p.90.