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Lipari (ME)

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Lipari (Messina Province) is 60 km from Messina, alt. 602 m (Monte Chirica), area of island 37.6 sq km, pop. 8,725, post-code 98055, tel. 090. Economy: see Aeolian Islands.

History: The town of Lipari (pop. 8,982) has the best facilities of all the urban centers in the Aeolian Islands. It is located at the center of the Monte Rosa headland. It was inhabited in the Neolithic Age and in the Bronze Age. The village of Meliguni, also known as Lipara, developed under the Greeks, and continued to prosper under the Romans. The Normans established an Archbishopric here. throughout the Middle Ages and until modern times, it was a fortified town characterized by a powerful boundary wall and a massive castle. That is Lipari's history in a nutshell, although it is in fact much more complex.

The first settlement on the island has been found at Castellaro Vecchio, in the Quattropani plateau (alt. 450 m). This dates from the 5th millenium BC. The Contrada Diana plain was inhabited in the 3rd millenium The baths of San Calogero, if we are to give credit to a still extant fragment of a Mycenaean building, were already in use in that age, i.e. long before the Greeks arrived. The acropolis and the surrounding are date from the Greek period, when a powerful fleet was built with which the inhabitants of Lipari finally deafeated the Tyrrhenian and Etruscan pirates who sowed terror along their coasts. An ally of Siracusa in the Peleponnese War, Lipari suffered numerous raids by the Athenians.

It was later attacked and conquered by the Carthaginians, and then ransomed; the economic and commercial power of the inhabitants continued however to grow, until Lipari eventually dominated the southern Tyrrhenian. During the first Punic War, Lipari, allied with Carthage, suffered the consequences of the Carthaginian defeat in the great Battle of the Aeolian Islands (257 BC) , and it was completely destroyed by the Romans (252 BC). A long period of decline then followed, even if the thermal waters of Lipari and Vulcano continued to famous throughout the Imperial Age. The information that the ancient historians give us of this age is fragmentary and confusing.

Lipari was fought over by Octavian and Sextus Pompey, and it was conquered in 36 BC by Octavian's admiral, Agrippa.

Mediaeval Lipari spread around the Cathedral, which from the 6th century was an archbishopric, where the relics of St Bartholomew were worshipped. Under the Arabs the inhabitants were deported in great numbers: The Aeolian Islands, and in particular Lipari, were depopulated. It was not until the arrival of the Normans that there was another economic and cultural revival.

A group of Benedictine monks in Lipari founded a monastery and an abbey around which the town once again developed. In 1131 the Abbey was raised to the statues of an archbishopric, together with the city of Patti. Caught up in the conflict between Angenincs and Aragonese, Lipari was conquered by Roberd I, King of Naples. This was followed by a period of prosperity for the inhabitants. the walls were fortified, and the Convent of the Frati Minori was built, together with other neighboring houses. but in 1544, the pirate Khair Ad-Din, also known as Ariadeno Barbarossa (Redbeard), conquered the town , burnt it down and deported all the inhabitants. The Spanish viceroy immediately ordered that the wlals hsould be rebuilt, with reinforements and new stuctures, and he also promoted the repopulation of the island, by offering special privileges to newcomers.

The island began to be repopulatated on a wide scale. The earthquake in 1783, after all the destruction it caused, led to widespread urban reconstruction (the town was further extended in the late 19th century). In 1930, the boundary wall was cut through to form a direct means of access from the piano to the Castello, where today we can see the Cathedral and other churches, as well as the Museum and an archaeological zone of great interest.

Of interest: Contrada Diana, Castello, the Archeological Museum.

Churches (Messina Diocese) include the following:

S. Bartolomeo (Cattedrale)
Maria SS. Di Porto Salvo
S. Giuseppe
S. Pietro
SS. Nome Di Maria
S. Gaetano (Acquacalda - suburb of Lipari)
Maria SS. Del Carmelo (Alicudi - suburb of Lipari)
SS. Annunziata (Annunziata - suburb of Lipari)
S. Cristoforo (Canneto Lipari - suburb of Lipari)
S. Giuseppe (Filicudi - suburb of Lipari)
S. Stefano (Filicudi - suburb of Lipari)
S. Vincenzo Ferreri (Ginostra - suburb of Lipari)
Maria SS. Del Rosario (Lami - suburb of Lipari)
S. Pietro (Panarea - suburb of Lipari)
S. Croce (Pianoconte - suburb of Lipari)
Purita' Di Maria SS. (Quattropani - suburb of Lipari)
S. Bartolomeo (Stromboli - suburb of Lipari)
S. Vincenzo Ferreri (Stromboli - suburb of Lipari)
Santi Angeli Custodi (Vulcano Piano - suburb of Lipari)

Families researched in these records include the following:
di Guiseppe

Links to other sites about Lipari include:
Italian Wikipedia
Italian Towns
Italian Postal Codes
Sicily Web
Sicilian Net

My latest book on CD is titled Sicily - A Reference for Researchers and is now available. With a file for each town (plus many other files), it relates the history of Sicily as reflected in the photos, records and festivals of its towns. It contains over 2500 text and photo files and can be ordered at CD order.

Order Italy Kathy Kirkpatrick

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© Kathy Kirkpatrick 1997-2008