Beneath a cloudless sky, the bright Mediterranean sun transforms Civitavecchia, the port of Rome, into a diaphanous jewel. Beyond the strong horizontal of the harbor wall, buildings of varying heights create a dynamic skyline. On the darker, earthy outcropping in the foreground, a woman and child observe a small group of men and horses moving toward the Tyrrhenian Sea. The water is dotted with boats and its pale blue coloration reappears in the hazy green-blue mountains in the far distance.
Most Dutch visitors to Italy arrived at Civitavecchia and the port was beloved by artist-travelers. This view is one of a small series of Italian cities, including Rome and Pisa, that Pieter Moninckx produced during the 1660s and 1670s. Like many Italianates, Moninckx worked both from nature and from his imagination, but the topographic accuracy of this scene suggests that it was made on the spot.