The painting combines an accurate view of a part of Rome, on the left, with an imaginary ruin, on the right. On the left is the Convento del Sacro Cuore (Convent of the Sacred Heart), and the church attached to it is the Trinità de' Monti (Church of the Trinity on the Hill). These buildings are at the top of what is today called the Spanish Steps, which were not then built.
In the distance, at the centre of the picture, is the pope's summer palace on the Quirinal. The old woman in the foreground may be a beggar or a procuress.