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Central California Life Magazine

Forestiere Underground Gardens Voted Best Underground Attraction

Sep 23, 2016 03:21PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

Forestiere Underground Gardens. Photo courtesy of their Facebook page.

Recently, Forestiere Underground Gardens won the number 1 slot in the USA Today Readers' Choice Awards for best underground attraction! Not only is this historic site an award-winning spot, it's also a California State Landmark (No. 916).

We also recently featured Forestiere Underground Gardens in an article, "Explore Your Own Backyard: 5 Fresno-Area Places to Be a Tourist."

Starting in 1906 Sicilian immigrant, Baldassare Forestiere combined his knowledge of farming with his observations of the Roman architecture of the Mediterranean to hand-excavate worthless farmland into a spectacular maze of underground caverns. No dynamite was used, no plans were made; every idea originated in Forestiere’s head as he went. 

By 1923 he had carved out over 10 acres of connecting tunnels, rooms, patios, and grottos, as well as a simple earthen home that sheltered him from the objectionable Fresno heat. Sadly, his premature death at the age of 67 was the end to his dream of building a fantastic underground Mediterranean resort, which he had originally planned to cover at least 20 acres. But what Forestiere left behind is an even greater legacy than he ever dreamed.

This underground attraction is a network of hand-built, Ancient Roman architecture - arches, vaults and stone-built walls, with underground rooms, courtyards and passageways reminiscent of the ancient catacombs. In this space, there is a series of unique fruit producing trees, shrubs, and vines growing underground, some over 90 years-old. 

For more information about this spectacular space, you can visit their website or their Facebook page