We have arrived at Lipari late at night, but still went on a short exploration trip – simply could not resist an opportunity to sit outside on this warm night, holding a cold beer! The town looked empty, but we have managed to find a small bar, still serving paninis and of course – cold beer! The taste of this Italian beer was one of the best I have ever had 🙂
The next day we gave ourselves a chance to explore the town. Marcin and I went on a trip trying to find showers and walked through the town with small backpacks containing our towels and shampoo. After walking for about 20 minutes and asking people around we have landed at a hairdresser saloon and finally could enjoy a nice, warm shower – what a treat! Now, sitting at the comfort of our home I really appreciate a possibility of just jumping to the bathroom whenever I need a shower. You do start to appreciate things when you do not have them available straight away!
Lipari is a nice, small town, sitting on the edge of the island, with hundreds of small streets hiding lovely restaurants and cafes. Early hour walk is a great opportunity to slowly unfold this beautiful town and listen to the businesses waking up. If you fancy renting a bike or a scooter, you will find plenty to chose from. A trips on boats are as well on offer, and few historic buildings might be interesting to explore.
During our afternoon wander, we have visited Lipari cathedral, situated near the archaeological museum. Even though the cathedral was not a thing of outstanding beauty, its simplicity was charming. Marcin and I were tempted enough by a price of 1 euro to go and explore the Norman Cloister and we do not regret it one bit! It’s history and re-discovery is fascinating!
Before Norman came to Lipari, the Arabs were there constantly. It resulted in the island being almost completely deserted, until Normans came to recolonize it. In 1083 Count Ruggiero the Old sent in Benedictine monks. Out of appreciation for the beauty of the place they have decided to build a monastery near the castle. The cloister was build at the same time.
But the cloister we can explore today was build around 1131 – the church was in the foreground to the North, then the monastery followed. For many years the monks lived a happy and peaceful life, until the Turk invasion. A fire destroyed everything and the inhabitants were enslaved.
Luckily Charles V started rebuilding and the cathedral became a living symbol of the island’s people faith. It’s three-navel structure imposed on the North-side of the cloister. Destruction did not ended there – the cloister lost its main role, was converted into a graveyard and covered. During an earthquake it was choked up with a wall and it almost completely disappeared. It was re-discovered only in 1978!
Today it appears in all of its beauty and charm, rectangular with a shorter North side. The garden in the middle is enclosed by the gallery with pillars. The existing columns are particularly interesting as they come from preceding Roman houses. You can find as well some ancient floor fragments remains and a few capitels depicting monstrous animals or doves pecking dates, probably made by some craftsmen imitating Bendeict Cluny school.
The cloister stole our hearts as it was a rare beauty in its simplicity. Lipari welcomed us generously and with open arms, showing a busy and lively town, with amazingly nice people and fantastic food. Lipari – be sure we will be back!