This sketch depicts a view of Tivoli looking south from the river valley at the north-eastern tip of the town. Dominating the right-hand side of the composition are the temples of the Acropolis: on the left, the circular so-called Temple of Vesta; and on the right, the rectangular Temple of the Sibyl, which until the end of the nineteenth century was incorporated within the Church of San Giorgio. Turner’s viewpoint is from a position below the temples, above the steep drop of the wooded gorge known as the Valle d’Inferno (Valley of Hell). Related sketches can be found on folios 78 verso and 79 verso (D15074 and D15076; Turner Bequest CLXXIX 77a and 78a), and in the Tivoli sketchbook (Tate D15511; Turner Bequest CLXXXIII 43).
Turner’s inscription ‘Villa Pisco’ may refer to the Villa of Manlius Vopisco, now part of the Villa Gregoriana.