The Lipari Cathedral is a wonderful gem of the island rich in history and incredible works of art.
The Lipari Cathedral, also known as Cathedral of San Bartolomeo, rises in the heart of the Cittadella. This part of the island includes the oldest village of Lipari and is marked by the ancient city walls which separate the two natural harbours, Marina Lunga and Marina Corta. Originally built in the acropolis on the ruins of a Greek temple, the Cathedral was completely destroyed by Arabs in 838 BC. After Normans conquered Sicily, Roger I started its reconstruction, dedicating the church to San Bartolomeo who became the Patron Saint of the Aeolian Islands.
The facade of the Lipari Cathedral has a majestic staircase, two small side entrances and a central marble portal enriched by Iconic columns and Corinthian capitals. The architrave, placed on the main entrance, shows the inscription “Divo Bartolomeo Dicatum” (dedicated to the divine Barotolomeo) and two sided tympana which are characterised by impressive carved decorations including a niche with the statue of the Saint. The interior includes a central nave which was initially covered by a wooden ceiling and then with high quality frescos representing biblical scenes. The church hosts impressive masterpieces such as the Vascello (the Vessel) made by the artists Perricone-Marano.
When Roger I started the rebuilding of the cathedral he invited a group of Benedictine monks who built a monastery near the castle and a incredible cloister close to the cathedral. It was characterised by a colonnaded gallery where each column depicted monstrous animals or doves eating dates.
In the 16th century this wonderful cloister was used as a cemetery and only recently in 1978 it was rediscovered by Luigi Pastore during his archaeological digs in the area. Part of its wonderful floor is now exhibited in one of the interesting section of the Aeolian Museum.