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Forestiere Underground Gardens, Fresno

(4.5/5 based on 460+ reviews on the web)
Admire the hand-built rooms of Forestiere Underground Gardens, beneath the Earth that transport you back to ancient Roman times right in the middle of Central California. The residence, built by Sicilian immigrant Baldassare Forestiere to escape the hot Fresno sun, was inspired by the Roman catacombs Forestiere knew as a child. He worked on his masterpiece tirelessly for 40 years, and spent countless hours excavating the hard soil to build the impressive subterranean structure. You can tour the summer bedroom, winter bedroom, kitchen, parlor, and grottoes that span 4 hectares (10 acres) intermixed with large archways and courtyards that allow in light. Forestiere also planted fruit trees underground and kept them thriving. You can appreciate the 100-year-old plants, some rare and exotic that can only grow here due to their protection from frost. Bring a sweater, as temperaures can be cooler underground. Use our Fresno travel itinerary planner to visit Forestiere Underground Gardens on your trip to Fresno, and learn what else travelers and our writers recommend seeing nearby.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Have visited twice. Unique place and great history. Went in the summer and it was nice and cool below ground. Will definitely visit again next time I have out of town guests!  more »
  • I went here a few years ago. It is worth your time. A single guy built a underground motel. Temperatures in summer can exceed 100+during summer. He figured how to beat the heat before air conditioners...  more »
  • This was my sisters idea for a special day for the two of us. I was unsure about the idea of walking in a "garden" but WOW this was spectacular, such a cool thing. I would recommend to everyone!!!  more »
Google
  • Really neat part of California History. The guy who built this place was living proof that there is not a whole heck of a lot to do in Fresno other than try and escape the heat. The place is awesome however, and the staff is friendly. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and underground cavern have an otherworldly hand crafted feel. It is also tempting to reach for the brightly colored fruit growing on the expertly grafted citrus trees. Make sure to check put this strange part of California history for yourself.
  • An interesting place to visit if you are in Fresno. An amazing place to behold. The ingenuity and attention to details of Forestiere's underground garden/resort was mind-blowing. It's a shame that a part of his work was destroyed after his passing, but a worthy piece of relic to keep and to learn from.
  • The Underground Gardens are a fascinating bit of California history. We had no idea what to expect so it easily lived up to those expectations. The family-owned and operated gardens as they exist today are a fraction of what they were at their peak decades ago. What remains is ten acres of hand-dug underground rooms, many open to the surface, with very clever drainage built in, a ballroom, and citrus trees everywhere. The gardens are very easy to pass by on the street as signage is discreet and there is no huge parking lot. Don't go expecting to escape the heat though; it was over 105 degrees on the surface during our visit and while a good 10 or more degrees cooler in the underground rooms, it was still plenty hot. My only deduction is for the admission price which seemed a couple of dollars more than some might find reasonable. We enjoyed the tour and history in any case.
  • Fascinating effort by a largely unsung visionary (during his lifetime, anyway.) Carving tunnels and underground gardens out of Fresno's hardpan soil must have taken a truly heroic effort. Worth a visit. Be aware, tours are on the hour, all parking is on-street, and this attraction is closed in the winter.
  • If you are visiting Fresno within the near future, I highly recommend the Forestiere Underground Gardens. I took my family there on Saturday, and we loved it! The tour guides and staff members did an excellent job! They gave us a brief summary of the history, and it was very informative. We had Martin as our tour guide, and he did a superb job of making our experience enjoyable. Plus, he kept us laughing with his humor. My family was very impressed with the tour, and in fact, this was one of our best Fresno experiences. They also offer a military discount for military service members. I highly recommend this tour!