Lipari Cathedral

Lipari, Italy

Lipari Cathedral has been since 1986 a co-cathedral in the Archdiocese of Messina-Lipari-Santa Lucia del Mela. From its foundation, the cathedral had served as the sole parish church for the entire archipelago.

The first cathedral was built in the heart of the acropolis, where a Greek temple had probably existed in the classical period, but it was destroyed by the Arabs in 838.

Reconstruction came only under Roger I of Sicily. In 1083, Count Roger I invited the Benedictine monks who were well-fitted for the serenity and security of the place, and built a monastery near the castle for them. The Abbot Ambrogio and his Benedictines built the church and its neighbouring monastery in Lipari. In 1131, Ugone, Archbishop of Messina, promoted the two monasteries of Patti and Lipari to a bishopric, in accordance with a papal bull.

Next to the single naved church, the monastery developed around the cloisters, the first Latin-Norman style cloisters in Sicily. Three of the four original ambulatories were recently brought to light, the fourth has been incorporated into the cathedral and is now its right nave.

The building was expanded between 1450 and 1515 with an artistic trussed wooden ceiling, but was burnt in July 1544 after an attack by the Ottoman corsair Hayreddin Barbarossa. In 1516 Charles V inherited an array of Spanish titles including naples, Sardinia and Sicily and led a campaign against Barbarossa, who retreated to Africa in 1535. After that, reconstruction work began in Lipari: fortifications of the citadel were improved, the cathedral was rebuilt with barrel vaults as a living symbol of the Islanders' Christian faith.

In the course of the eighteenth century frescos with biblical scenes were painted on the vaults. In 1728, the silver statue of the patron Bartholomew was created, as well as the wooden altar to the left of the apse. Between 1755 and the end of the century, work was begun on the campanile. In 1772 the cathedral was expanded with two side naves. The right side nave incorporated the north ambulatory of the cloisters. Work also began on the facade of pale Vesuvian stone in 1772, intended to give a delicate contrast and sense of dynamic harmony with the interior of the duomo. In the last decades of the eighteenth century, marble altars decorated with paintings by Antonio Mercurio were added. In 1859 the cathedral was struck by lightning, destroying the gable of the facade and the causing some vaults to collapse. Repair work began immediately and was completed in 1861. The lost ceiling paintings have never been restored.



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Via Castello 39s, Lipari, Italy
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Founded: 1131
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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User Reviews

Davide (2 years ago)
A basilica from the 1800s with wonderful paintings and marble decorations inside. Outside, a long staircase that takes you back to the alleys of Lipari. We will definitely return for another visit
Federica La Serra (2 years ago)
The cathedral is very beautiful and well maintained. Also the cloister on the side. One of a kind with some sculptures and paintings by modern artists.
Anna Maria Polverino (2 years ago)
The cathedral, built in the 12th century by the Norman king Roger I, is dedicated to S. Bartolomeo, patron saint of the Aeolian Islands and of my hometown, Benevento, where the saint has his main sanctuary. It stands on the site of a Hellenic and Arab pagan construction of the 9th century. Of the Norman style, only the cross vaults are visible. The current building dates back to 1861 after the necessary reconstruction following a seismic phenomenon. I admired the majestic grandeur of the façade with a wide staircase. The main entrance door is decorated with Ionic columns and Corinthian capitals. On the sides there are two minor entrances. Inside I found the silver statue of St. Bartholomew and a seventeenth-century panel depicting the Madonna del Rosario are valuable. In the cross vaults of the main nave there are frescoes of biblical episodes; in the side aisles you can admire wooden busts, altarpieces and truly enchanting paintings.
Vitali Andrusiak (2 years ago)
Very beautiful cathedral. The details on the ceiling are gorgeous.
dusty (3 years ago)
the ceiling is exquisite - commands your attention upon entry - like is was newly painted yesterday. norman cloisters not worth the entry fee but nonetheless interesting
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