Home in a Cave
Many of the subterranean spaces take advantage of existing mines, while others are made fresh with local mining equipment. The "dugout" homes are cheaper to build than conventional units and require little air conditioning, a boon in an area where average daily temperatures approach 100 degrees in the summer.
Cave homes have long been popular in parts of the Mediterranean region, from Turkey to Spain, Greece and Morocco. In Spain's Andalusia region, one can find numerous listings for comfortable cave houses for sale and rent, typically at prices that beat above-ground offerings.
Now a tourist attraction in Fresno, Calif., the Forestiere Underground Gardens were designed and hand-built by Sicilian immigrant Baldasare Forestiere, a vineyardist and horticulturalist. Starting in 1906, Forestiere spent 40 years carving a mysterious underground escape from the San Joaquin Valley's powerful heat. Fashioned after the "visions stored in my mind," his caverns are a network of gardens illuminated with skylights, as well as comfortable living spaces for himself, including a kitchen, bedroom and fish pond.
Reprinted in part from Hearst Communications, Inc.
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