Photo of Lipari cathedral

Visit Lipari cathedral

The cathedral is the main historical monument of Lipari, the town on the Aeolian island of the same name in northern Sicily.

Explore the Cathedral and Cloister of Lipari

Italy This Way review: although the cathedral isn't the most imposing you'll see when visiting Sicily, the cathedral's frescoed ceiling and adjoining ancient cloister make it an interesting destination when visiting the island.

Facade of Lipari Cathedral

To reach the cathedral from downtown Lipari you climb a long, monumental staircase: the facade of the cathedral is visible as you climb the stairs to help you stay motivated under the hot Sicilian sun! The facade has a main entrance with Ionic columns on either side and two smaller entrances on each side, and incorporates four pilasters.

The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Bartholomew, the patron saint of the Aeolian Islands, and was built by Norman Count Roger from the 11th century. Only the arched vaults remain of the original Norman building, because the interior and the facade have since been rebuilt.

Rebuilt in the second half of the 16th century and completed with a barrel vault, the cathedral is tall and rectangular with several chapels on the sides and has three naves. The ceiling of the main nave is covered with colorful frescoes.

In the 18th century the cathedral underwent substantial changes in its structure and decorations, and the ceiling frescoes depicting biblical scenes date from this period and the silver statue of the Protector and the wooden altar were added. The cathedral tower to the left of the facade was erected towards the end of the 18th century.


The main doors of the cathedral are covered with reliefs and are one of the highlights of a visit to the cathedral. Inside the cathedral, interesting works of art include a silver statue of St. Bartholomew and a 17th century image of the “Madonna of the Rosary”.

From inside Lipari Cathedral you can reach (a small entrance fee is payable) a Norman cloister, with capitals decorated with animals and columns supporting massive stone walls.

After the invasion by the Turks, its subsequent use as a cemetery which included the cloister being covered with earth, then an earthquake and landslide which covered the cloister with earth and parts of other walls, the cloister has been lost for a very long time and only rediscovered in 1978.

Although it is quite small and not overly renovated - there are no meticulous flower beds and lawns here - the cloister is interesting because it is the oldest part of the cathedral: the cloister was built circa 1131 as part of the original monastery, built by Benedictine monks, and prior to the main cathedral

The columns you see in the cloisters of Lipari come from Roman houses that were in the area 2000 years ago, and you can also see capitals with sculptures of monsters and birds.

Painted ceiling inside Lipari cathedral

Attractions nearby

Of course you will want to explore the town and island of Lipari while you are here. Next to the cathedral you can see an excavation of some very old walls from earlier cities that stood here 2000-3000 years ago, and the street in front of the cathedral leads to the Aeolian Islands Museum, one of the main attractions in the town.

You can find more local travel ideas in and the Sicily guide.

See also: 

Photos of Lipari cathedral

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Map of Lipari cathedral and places to visit


Lipari cathedral places to visit



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