Central Valley Visitor Information

Forestiere Underground Gardens, Fresno

Baldassare Forestiere, a Sicilian immigrant, came to America in 1901 to pursue his dreams of becoming a citrus farmer.  In Fresno, California, Forestiere crafted a subterranean complex of patios, grottoes and garden courts, all featuring arches and stonework using the local hardpan sedimentary rock.  He became a self-taught artist, and patterned his underground world after the ancient catacombs he admired as a boy, near his home town of Filari, Sicily.  No plans were put on paper; each room and passageway was created in Forestiere’s mind as he worked.  With simple farm tools – a pick, a shovel and a wheelbarrow – the young immigrant dug, chipped and carved the unforgiving hardpan for 40 years, all in his spare time!  By the time he was 44 years old, he had excavated and planted over 10 acres.

In addition to his unique building methods, the humble immigrant was also able to plant multiple varieties of fruit-bearing trees and vines, up to 20 feet underground! Orange, lemon and grapefruit trees were planted throughout his underground gardens – many varieties growing together on the same tree!  Forestiere also grew more unusual varieties like kumquat, loquat, jujube, carob, quince and dates as well as wine and table grapes.  Fruit could easily be plucked from the surface of the gardens, by simply bending down.  He truly created an oasis in a modern-day desert of pavement!

The Forestiere Underground Gardens were designated a CALIFORNIA REGISTERED HISTORICAL LANDMARK  in 1979.  It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.  

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Top Attractions in the Central Valley Area

Bidwell Park & Bidwell Mansion
Feather River Fish Hatchery, Oroville
Forestiere Underground Gardens, Fresno
Oroville Dam & Lake, Oroville
Sacramento Zoo
San Luis National Wildlife Refuge

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Camp-California is concerned about the health and safety of our campers and adventurers. While camping and outdoor activities do offer the ability to self-isolate, we are encouraging all California residents and travelers to shelter in place until further notice. We recognize that getting outdoors is what you do best, and we will be here to reacquaint you with nature once we're cleared for adventure again!


Most private parks are open with 14-day minimums. If you are a full-time RVer looking to shelter in place, a member of the traveling medical profession, or a utility worker looking for a park please call our office and we can connect you with an appropriate location.