The origins of the town of Gargano go far back in time, and historical sources attribute the foundation of the first settlement to the Argive people from Rhodes, daring explorers who landed on the Gargano coast in C8 B.C.
The little seafaring village was further developed by the Romans, who renamed the original Rhodian settlement Portus Garnae. Remains of the ancient harbour were visible up to the end of the 19th century. Nowadays, situated under the Castle, one can still see the ruins of the defensive walls and the trap-door leading to the Tabularium: a place used in Roman times to record the quantity of goods in transit. This was an important function given that, during this era, Rodi Garganico provided the only coastal outlet for the whole region.
Like most towns on the Adriatic coast, it came to be dominated by various peoples over the centuries. After the fall of the Roman Empire, it passed under the control of the Goths in 485 A.D., followed by the Saracens.
In the 18th century it was governed by the Venetians, and then became part of the feudal estate of Alfonso of Aragon until the time of Italian unification.
The variety of people occupying the area over the centuries has nevertheless served to enrich its heritage with many monumental remains and cultural traditions. The latter survive above all in the typical gastronomy of the area and in its popular festivals, with commemorations which help recall the town’s noble past.
Rodi Garganico today, perched on its rocky spur, can be seen as a typical Mediterrannean town, and despite the passage of time still maintains all the attributes which first attracted the Rhodian Argives.
We should also mention the natural setting framing the town, still carefully conserved today. The lush vegetation includes olives and citrus trees brought over at the time of Arab domination in the ninth century. Even at that time, Rodi gained a reputation across the seas for the extraordinary health-giving qualities of its citrus fruits.
From what is now the breakwater for the new harbour, ships used to leave for the Americas laden with cargoes of oranges, lemons and oil, the special products of Gargano soil. They are still esteemed today, together with other specialities like the Caciocavallo Podolico cheese, praised by supporters of the Slow Food movement.
Rodi Garganico would like to continue to offer all boat-owners passing through the new Tourist Port a taste of this magical and timeless atmosphere, together with its breathtaking views and fine sandy beaches. In this way, it can perpetuate the special tradition of hospitality that has always characterized the people of Gargano.