Enter the Mapparium, a three-story-tall, inside-out stained-glass globe that is bisected in the middle by a glass walkway. Once illuminated with hundreds of lamps, today it glows with the light of LEDs.
Curiously, the Mapparium is the only place in the world in which the surface of the earth can be seen without distortion. Even when looking at an accurate globe, the relative sizes of the continents are distorted by perspective, as the spherical shape causes different regions to appear at different distances from the eye. But with a view from the very center of a globe, looking out, the eye is the same distance from every point on the map.
Boston's own secret garden, hidden in the heart of the city.
A hidden gem tucked beyond Boston’s downtown parks, the James P. Kelleher Rose Garden dates back to 1931 and features over 1,500 roses behind its tall green yew hedge in the Back Bay Fens. Despite its long and storied history just minutes from Fenway Park, it is largely unknown to tourists and residents and retains a “secret garden” feeling.
Tucked in behind a series of twisting, hilly roads is probably the last place you’d expect to find a giant tribute to our Lady of Fatima. But there she stands.
The titanic holy lady was built in 1954 by the fathers of the Don Orione order. The holy men wished to create a devotional work to pair with their charitable work at their nearby nursing home. It was their belief that every charitable work of theirs should be paired with such a devotional site. The large lady stands atop a globe representing her God-given power over the universe.
The shrine was intended to host swarms of religious pilgrims, although these days you’ll be lucky to encounter one or two stray senior citizens, and that’s only if the wind isn’t kicking up too much. This is probably the best spot in the city to watch planes taking off from nearby Logan International Airport, and it makes for a rare opportunity to be alone and collect your thoughts in a town where it often seems like people live on top of one another.
The Don Orione retirement home next door is still in operation and the oversize Mary stands as a reminder of the religious devotion that continues to drive the charitable facility.