Forestiere Gardens reopen to visitors

The scenic tour is once again open - with precautionary measures to guard against COVID-19.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A look from above doesn't do it justice.

You have to take a trip down below to appreciate Forestiere Underground Gardens.

The scenic tour is once again open - with precautionary measures to guard against COVID-19.

"We are operating at 50% capacity so we've limited our guided tours to nine guests per tour. That way guests can better protect themselves. Face coverings are required," says Cami Cippola of Forestiere Underground Gardens.

The gift shop no longer has items you can pick up and look over.

The work of Baldassare Forestiere boggles the mind.

In the early 1900s, he started digging up hardpan from a plot of land because he couldn't grow a crop. Forestiere used the hardpan to frame arches and he did it all by hand with a pickax, shovel and wheelbarrow.

"He remembered in Sicily, the catacombs and the wine cellars that are underground and he remembered that it was a little bit cooler down there so he dug himself out a little room," says Cippola.

Forestiere kept digging until he ended up with a 10-acre complex which offered protection from the intense Valley heat.

He was even able to grow grapes and citrus underground.

This is a historic site but Cippola says it does not receive any state funding so it's important tourists and families visit.

"We're really hoping that our community and our Californians will focus more on staying in hometown areas and coming to see and support areas like use," says Cippola.

The Underground Gardens are open between 9 am and 4 pm but you must make a reservation.
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