Rodi Garganico is small town located along the Northern coastline of the Gargano area. It is perched on a rocky promontory and surrounded on both sides by sandy beaches. Rodi Garganico is known as “Il giardino del Gargano” (Garden of Gargano), the town is in fact surrounded by olives and citrus fruit groves which fill the air with the scent of their intense flowers.
The town has very ancient origins, dating back from the 13th century BC; It was founded by the Cretans and was taken over by Greeks and the Rhodians during the 8th century BC, hence the name Rodi. Later on it was called Uria by the Romans. For many centuries Rodi was a fishing village and a trading port.
The old town recalls the same architecture of most of the coastal towns in Puglia, with little whitewashed and pastel-colored houses near the old fishing port which overlook the sea, narrow and steep lanes, stairs and huge fortified walls originally built to protect the town from maritime attacks (remains of the walls are still well preserved).
As well as the fortified walls, other ancient buildings are well kept in the old town: the stunning Church of Saint Peter and the Sanctuary of the Madonna Libera; the Church of Saint Nicola di Mira with the Byzantine-style bell tower and the medieval Church of Saint Barbara; the ruins of the Aragonese Castle.
Rodi has changed quite a lot in the last few years and today it appears like a modern seaside resort and one of the main destinations in the Gargano area, getting very busy especially in summer; it is literally inundated by tourists during summer months particularly in the Lido del Sole beach (Sunny beach).
It is worth a full day visit, and its port is often used as departure gate for the Tremiti Island. Few destinations are easily reachable from Rodi Garganico such as the Foresta Umbra in the heart of the Gargano National Park and the two lakes of Lesina and Varano: a narrow sand strip separates the lakes from the Adriatic Sea, this is a place for nature lovers and birds birdwatchers as many different species will choose this area during the nesting on their migratory route towards Africa.
If you are around Rodi in May, pop into the town and visit the sagra delle arance, orange fair, a celebration of oranges and all citrus fruit, the town is decorated with colored stands where you will be able to taste and buy local specialties.