Since the Middle Ages, Rodi Garganico (Ròude Rùre or in dialect garganico; until 1863 called Rodi) is known for the production of citrus fruit of the Gargano. Among these, the Gargano oranges and lemons Femminello, recognized today as IGP products.
The village is perched on a rocky promontory between two long sandy beaches are just a few kilometers to the east of Lake Varano. It is surrounded by a lush vegetation, mainly composed of citrus plantations, olive groves and pine forests, as well as by carob trees and figs. The historical center, like the walls of which is Cinto, is of medieval origin and is characterized by narrow alleyways, in good part steep and with intricate paths that are insinuated in an urban fabric consisting of houses of uniform architectural aspect, realized in such a way that each one is possible to see the sea.
Many are the evidence of the presence of prehistoric settlements (paleolithic and neolithic) in the area. But the foundation of the inhabited nucleus in the present site is later. The origin of Rodi Garganico was often linked to the movement expansionary of Rodii (for other of Argivi), people of Greek etnìa that in the VIII century b.c. it colonizzò the coasts attracted by the climate and pine forests. It is the same people who founded, according to the interpretation of Strabone, the city of Elpie (or Salapia). This interpretation, for the lack of a archaeological documentation relevant, it is still rather uncertain.
With the fall of Rome were ollowed difficult times: Rodi Garganico was destroyed by the Goths in 485 d.C., rebuilt in 553 after the Greek War-gothic and attacked by the Saracens in 950. As Hornbeam, was occupied in 1461 by the Aragonese. In 1446, in fact, was already be feud of Alfonso V of Aragon. Rhodes knew a new period of splendour from the XVI century thanks to the production of citrus plantations, whose die involved almost entirely the citizenship. The "protection" of saints was considered as a fundamental element for a fruitful agriculture: since the seventeenth century the rodiani were in the first row on the occasion of the feast of San Valentino (patron of citrus plantations) during the long procession of February toward the colle del Carmine (Vico del Gargano) to bless plants and fruits of lemons and oranges.
The choice of the Holy came after discussions and pilgrimages in search of a patron whose holidays are collocasse in the winter season period most critical for crops of oranges. The story goes that a delegation of inhabitants coming from Rhodes and from Vico came on pilgrimage in the catacomb which guarded the busts of saints martyrs, where the head of the delegation, detonated the projecting arm of San Valentino: was a providential sign and decisive for the choice. On 10 February 1618 the Archbishop of Manfredonia approved the choice and four days after the bones of the Saint came to Rome in the Mother Church of Vico, giving origin to the traditional procession of 14 February, today event below and shared by rodiani and vichesi.
An event ominous instead was represented by the disastrous earthquake of Gargano of 1646 which caused the destruction of many of the buildings and also the death of four people. In 1815 Rodi Garganico hosted at the "turret of the King", Gioacchino Murat, who stayed here between the second fall of Napoleon and the proclaims of Rimini. In the last century, during the fascist period, experienced a period of moderate economic development thanks to the construction of the railroad garganica. Immediately after the second world war, however, the trade of citrus fruit, the main economic activity of the city, halted due to the international political situation that restricted trade flows: in fact it was not more possible to trade with the dirimpettaie Dalmatian coast, the main goal of Rodi exportations.
Today Rodi Garganico, despite having kept the production of citrus plantations - in a framework of development oriented toward the exploitation of the typicality of various agricultural products, gastronomic and farm stays-, has mainly developed its own tourist-receptive vocation. Already appreciated seaside destination in the sixties, has undergone important processes for the restoration of the architectural heritage and urban renewal put in place by the municipal administrations that have succeeded one another in the last decade; the recent construction of a marina, finally, has conferred an interesting role in the tourist circuit of the Mediterranean.
Small faraglioni enrich the stretch of coast on which the village. The largest and most well known is the one called "Dog" (or "del Leone") because of its particular shape that recalls, precisely, a dog or a lion that watches over the town from the dangers of the sea. On the top of the rocky cliff to the east of the faraglioni is placed an ancient trabucco, an imposing wooden structure was used traditionally for fishing, typical of the Gargano and as such protected by National Park.
The Vuccolo is the ancient area of the port of Rhodes. The etymology of the name comes from the verb longobardo "vucculare" which means "shout", "Call". It owes its name to the typical (up to some time ago) custom of popolane call (vucculare) terraces husbands intent to work networks at "Mer i varc" ("sea of boats"), the name with which still today is called the port area.
The Chépe Abbasce district (head down) is characterized by narrow alleyways with intricate paths, steep staircases, arches, piazzette hidden and panoramic terraces. The narrow alleys and the disposition of the houses replied to the dual requirement of shelter from strong winds winter, but also to be able to see the sea. The district, in fact, was inhabited mostly by fishermen. Located in the historical center the Church of the Holy Crucifix and the now disappeared church of San Michele Arcangelo.