The Girandola was a firework display staged in Rome, every year on Easter Monday, and at the inauguration of a new Pope. Wright was in Rome in 1774-1775 and would have witnessed several of these occasions. Girandole means the revolving wheel from which the rockets were fired. Wright’s view of Rome is a capriccio of the chief tourist sights of the day. It includes the Castel Sant’Angelo, Trajan’s column, the Pantheon and St. Peter’s with the Vatican. The distant viewpoint is an invention which permits the artist to include two colossal stone pines. He conceived the subject as a pair to his painting 'The Eruption of Vesuvius': “The one the greatest effect of Nature, the other of Art that I suppose can be”, as he described them. He painted several versions of each, but this is probably the first Girandola, exhibited at the Society of Artists in London in 1776.