This painting offers us an evocative view of the remains of the Portico of Octavia, the only surviving element of the great porticoes that once bordered the northern side of the square of the Circus Flaminius. Between 27 and 23 BC this architectural complex was given a radical makeover that was funded with the booty from Octavian's victory over Dalmatia, and Octavian dedicated it to his sister Octavia (porticus Octaviae).
In this painting with its Romantic overtones, we see the visible remains of the portico, its double columns and Corinthian capitals, overgrown here and there with vegetation.
But that is not all. The artist has endeavoured to breath life into the vestigial remains of the city's glorious Classical past by filling his view with the hustle and bustle of a fish market and with figures in their everyday clothes going about their daily chores.
The Portico of Octavia was traditionally one of the entrances leading into Rome's Ghetto.