The club was founded in 1968 with the name Sesso Rende and renamed as Rende Calcio. The club's first coach was the late Mario Portone, who afterward became the mayor of the Calabrian city, and managed to win promotion to Serie C2 for their first time in 1978, and then even Serie C1 one year later. Rende played a consecutive five Serie C1 seasons before being relegated back to Serie C2 in 1984, and Serie D in 1987. In 1992 the club relegated again, this time to Eccellenza Calabria, and returned to Serie D only in 1997.
Rende were relegated to Eccellenza again in 2000, but two consecutive promotions from 2003 to 2005 led the club back into professionalism, spending a total two seasons into Serie C2, and also playing in the Coppa Italia, losing 4–0 to Lazio in a one-legged round in Rome.
In 2007 the club moved to Cosenza and changed its name to Fortitudo Cosenza, taking the place of local club A.S. Cosenza Calcio, that was facing financial problem.