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.  

More Info

Discover New Customers

Advertise With Us
Get Started

The Camper's Guide to California!

Get the Guide

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

Activities in the Central Valley Area

Blossom Trail

Take this self-guided motor or bicycle tour, organized by the Fresno County Blossom Trail Committee, …
Read More

Celebrate Winter at a Wildlife Festival

Winter is the season to enjoy the spectacular migratory bird life along the famed Pacific …
Read More

Central Valley Museums

No Visit to a California destination would be complete without visiting one of the many …
Read More

Explore Bats in Yolo Basin

Within the shadow of the capitol of California, the Yolo Bypass offers excellent wildlife viewing …
Read More

Inland Valley Wine Region

Inland Valleys – Our state’s sunny inland valleys are great for grapes. But that isn’t all …
Read More

Rocks – A Family’s Passion

The family passion for rocks turned a hobby into a full time business when John …
Read More

Discover Exciting Events in the Central Valley Area