In the 1933 film Queen Christina, Greta Garbo played the former owner of this palace as a graceful tussler with existential angst; in real life, the stout 17th-century Swedish monarch smoked a pipe, wore trousers and entertained female - and a fair number of (ordained) male - lovers. 'Queen without a Realm, Christian without a faith, and woman without shame' ran one of the contemporary epithets on Christina.
But Christina was also one of the most cultured and influential women of her age. The century's highest-profile convert to Catholicism, she abdicated her throne and established her glittering court here in 1662, filling what was then Palazzo Riario with her fabled library and an ever-expanding collection of fabulous old masters. She threw the best parties in Rome and commissioned many of Scarlatti and Corelli's hit tunes before dying here in 1689.
Today the palace - later redesigned by Ferdinand Fuga for the Corsini family - houses part of the national art collection. The galleries have beautiful frescoes and trompe l'oeil effects, and contain paintings of the Madonna by Van Dyck, Filippo Lippi and Orazio Gentileschi, two St Sebastians (one by Rubens and one by Annibale Carracci) and a pair of Annunciations by Guercino. Among the works by Caravaggio is an unadorned Narcissus. There's also a triptych by Fra Angelico and a melancholy Salome by Guido Reni.
Palazzo Corsini is also the HQ of the prestigious Accademia dei Lincei, a scientific society that has been going since 1603.