FORESTIERE patterned his underground world after the ancient catacombs of
his native land.  The Roman arches dominate the underground landscape while
the stonework provides stability and beauty. But unlike the dark catacombs
that protected the remnants of the lifeless, Forestiere designed well-lit
courtyards and grottos to bring forth the radiance and vitality of life. This
network of rooms, grottos, and passageways once honeycombed almost 10
acres, and numbered nearly 100.
FORESTIERE preferred his cool underground lifestyle to that lived by
most people of his time—above ground in hot, wooden,  “sweat
boxes.”  His unique home included a parlor with fireplace, a summer
and a winter bedroom, a courtyard with a bath and a fish pond, and a
kitchen with all the conveniences of his era. This earthen home was
his friend and protector from all types of inclement weather.
Amazing Underground Sights and Wonders
IT HAS been said that “Beauty is in the eye of the
beholder.” Every twist and turn throughout this
delightful underground maze brings a new beauty
to behold.  The stonework, the scallop-shaped
seats carved into the walls and passageways,
and the lush greenery of trees and grapevines
growing beneath the ground proclaim Forestiere’s
love for life, nature, and the divine Creator of it all.  
ESCAPING the intense Fresno heat is as easy as descending a flight of stairs. Step down
into the cool, welcoming arms of nature-shaded rooms and courtyards.  Amazingly, the
underground climates here (micro-climates) change depending on the location. Temperatures
can range anywhere from 10 to 30 degrees lower than above ground, or just a couple of
degrees from one spot to another. This photo shows a citrus tree (once bearing 7 varieties
of citrus) growing at a second underground level (about 22 feet down).  The different levels
also affect the timing of tree blossom appearance and protect them from frost.
California Registered
Historical Landmark
No. 916

A Fresno County and
City Historical Site

Listed on the National
Register of
Historic Places
Forestiere Historical Center
Forestiere Underground Gardens
100 Years Old!
Since 1906
"To make something with lots of money, that is easy.  But to make something out of
nothing --that now, is something!"
                                                                                                 Baldassare Forestiere
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