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.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.