One of the first things we suggest you do when you come to the Lipari is to tour the island. You can either drive around it or allow us to arrange the transportation for you (be sure to check out our abbreviated video of this tour).
Commencing from the main town, Lipari (note that Lipari is the seat of the local municipal government for 6 of the 7 islands - Salina being unique in that it has circa 3,000 inhabitants and 3 towns, 3 mayors and 3 administrations!) follow the promenade of Marina Lunga to the port of Pignataro; proceed to Canneto and see the wonderful beach as well as the exquisite chequered street and plaza in the middle of town (originally this town was built for fishermen as well as the workers of the famous Pumice Plants). Canneto, Lipariís second largest town, is flanked by the beautiful Mount Pilato.
Leaving Canneto continue along the coast road leading to the church of Pirrera; you will traverse Forgia Vecchia, Rocche Rosse (red rocks), Campo Bianco (white field) which are the old (now closed) quarries of the magnificent (and very sharp) Obsidian stone and Pumice stone - -these are the quarries in which Mussolini exiled dissident Italian intellectuals to work - -and die of silicone poisoning.
Leaving the quarries you will reach the breathtaking promontory of Punta Castagna and arrive in Acquacalda with its sunny pebbled beach and wondrous view of the islands of Salina, Panarea and Stromboli.
Continuing past Hotel Cutimare the road climbs to the village of Quattropiani. As you climb to Quattropiani (four floors) be certain to stop and take in the astounding view below you. A few kilometres later you will pass Pianoconte and then reach the Terme (Baths) di San Calogero (1867) with the 3500-year-old Roman ëstoveí and the Tholos from the Mycenaean civilisation; the Terme have converted into a lovely exhibition hall. Be certain to follow the winding footpath al the way to its end (10í) where you will see one of the most beautiful views of the western side of the island with the island of Vulcano at what seems a stoneís throw. On the side of the road you will find local vendors who will offer you fresh capers, dried tomatoes, spices for pastas and salads as well as chilled Malvasia wine. These are all local products and are wonderful to take back home and use when you want to have a ëburst of suní during the chilly winters.
Proceeding forth one arrives at the viewpoint of Quattrocchi (four eyes) where the step cliffs and picturesque coves below will delight you by their beauty. In the distance you will be able to admire Faraglioni and the island of Vulcano.
On the last stretch of the road we suggest a detour to the International Geophysical Observatory located at the top of Monte Guardia before you alight in Lipari. After a drink or a gelato, if you still have the energy head up to the Luigi Bernabo Brea Archaeological museum rated to be one of the very best of Europe.
The Aeolian archipelago consists of 7 islands (Lipari, Stromboli, Vulcano, Alicudi, Filicudi, Panarea and Salina) that emerged from underwater circa 1 million years ago as a result of the shift and sinking of the plateau in the Tyrrhenian Sea due to the final emergence of the Apennine Mountains in central Italy. The magma from the underwater volcanoes leaked through several faults and was able to accumulate in such a manner to emerge from several thousand meters under water and create volcanic chimneys of which several made it to the surfaceÖto become the islands, as we know them today. The first were Panarea, Filicudi and Alicudi, then Salina and Lipari; and finally Vulcano and Stromboli - -only 300,000 years ago!- - which explains why these two are still active. One can find out more in the geological section of the excellent Luigi Bernabo Brea Archaeological museum in Lipari.
Lipari is the largest of the Aeolian Islands (37km) and was originally known as Meligunis (the gentle one). It is the epicentre of the 7 islands, the seat of the local government as well the center of all the major transportation that comes to the archipelago. The city of Lipari (circa 5,000 inhabitants off season) is the largest urban center.