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 through-
out 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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