Towne made two separate visits to Rome, the first in the autumn of 1780 and the second, when the present watercolour was made, in the spring of 1781, following his stay in Naples. During this second visit he sometimes revisited places which had captivated him on his first visit as evidenced by the present watercolour. There is also a watercolour showing the view north towards the Sabine Mountains from the Porta Pia, which is dated October 1780. In the present view, the severe classical structure is almost dwarfed by its natural surroundings and instead of being the focus of the watercolour is pushed to one side, its importance as one of the old gateways to Rome relegated. In fact the closed gates in the archway suggest that it was still in use, but no longer as a gateway to one of the most important cities in the world, but merely one leading to an estate.