Veduta di Lipari
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LIPARI

The main island of the Isole Eolie, takes its name from Riparo, King of the Island and the Musoni (18th Century BC), who arrived on the peninsula at the end of the II Millenium BC.
The Island of Lipari was however already inhabited since the Neolithic Age (5th Millenium BC) and had its flourishing centre on the plains of Castellaro. It seems that much attention was reserved for the Island due an abundant presence of obsidian, a volcanic glass, which during Neolithic times was a precious commodity of exchange in the entire Mediterranean, utilised in the development of sailing ships (6th Millenium BC).
Before the arrival of Liparo, there were many other cultures: Pianoconte (2700 BC), Piano Quartara in Panarea (second half of the the III Millenium BC), the Milazzese Culture (15th Century BC) of Sicilian origins and finally the arrival of Liparo.
There were then centuries of terrible clashes due to the geographic position of the Eolie, being an objective for power for the Phoenicians and the Greeks. In ‘850 BC, Lipari was taken and almost destroyed and the Eolie remained mostly uninhabited until the arrival of the Cnidi, whose origins were Greek, in 580 BC. The Greeks were very welcomed by the Island’s few inhabitants, and constructed Acropolis and strengthened the Town by making their marine experience available and allowing Lipari to flourish commercially.
In 304 BC, Agatocle, tyrant of Syracuse, plundered the Island.
During the First Punic War, Lipari became ally to the Carthaginians and due to this, was besieged and destroyed by the Romans in 251 BC.
A period of economic depression followed, where the Eolie Islands were only used as a place of deportation and confinement and a marine garrison centre in the Castle.
The Island flourished once more under the Byzantines, when it became a Episcopal seat and its town-planning was developed.
The Goths then took over power (5th-6th Century), the Byzantines (6th-8th Century) and finally the Arabs, who devastated the City and deported all its inhabitants in ‘838.
The Eolie Islands remained uninhabited until 1083 when the Normans settled Benedictine monks in the Castle and these, in order to re-populate the archipelago, gave land to a few inhabitants and whoever wanted to live on the island. Thanks to fiscal concessions, Lipari flourished once more under the Angioini and the Aragonese.
In 1544, it was the Saracen pirate Barbarossa who besieged Lipari and destroyed the Cathedral and the town, deporting all its inhabitants as slaves.
Once again, a new defence wall was constructed, but Lipari had to wait until the 18th Century to return to its economic development.
In 1860, it was annexed to the Reign of Italy, together with the whole of Sicily.
The defensive walls are still present in Lipari, dating back to the 16th Century and those of the 13th, as well as a tower from the Greek Walls construction (4th Century BC). It is across this that one can access the Castle and visit the Cathedral of Saint Bortolomeo (Bartholomew), first built by the Normans and destroyed by the pirate Barbarossa, then reconstructed during the 18th Century in a Baroque style.
The Castle, the first urbanised area from Neolithic to Greek times, is mainly occupied as the seat of the Eoliano Archaeological Museum, one of the richest museums in Italy: it’s a not to be missed visit for a better understanding of the history of the Eolie Islands.

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