Fresno, Calif. (KGPE) — It is the definition of the American dream, the Forestiere Underground Gardens. It is a spot not visible to the naked eye, quite literally, and can only be seen 40 feet below.
“When they first pull up on Shaw Avenue,” said Operations Manager Cami Cipolla. ” They are a little curious because we don’t look like much. We are a little deceiving from ground level. But the second that people start walking down the stairs in the entrance and they are seeing the grapevines and they start to feel the temperature difference, they start to feel like this is going to be something unique.”
Tours are available every day to show the arches, tunnels and several courtyards built over 100 years ago by one Sicilian immigrant.
“He was imaginative. I think he was a little bit of a genius,” said Cipolla.
Baldassare Forestiere bought the 80 acres of land for $80. A steal. He began to dig. What he thought was fertile soil for a citrus empire turned out to be rock.
Instead of giving up, he started to build, piling the stones one on top of the other.
“He found a way to make Limoncello out of lemonade, and created something not only for just him but for other people,” said Cipolla.
Forestiere used only his imagination, no templates, to build the gardens. In 1979, it became a historic landmark.
The gardens continue to stay in the Forstiere family, with tours every day. When planning a trip, make sure to make reservations, and wear a mask.