Lipari: Among the Volcanos

June 8, 2015 / Places
Lipari, Sicilia
Lipari l ©ornaoreilly (4)

Nestled amongst the Aeolian Islands, Lipari is the largest island of this volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, where the volcanos on Stromboli and Vulcano smoke threateningly – and even occasionally erupt.

Lipari l ©ornaoreilly (16)

With just one day to spare, I travelled there by hydrofoil from Milazzo on Sicily’s north coast.

Lipari l ©ornaoreilly (7)

Arriving in the port-town of Lipari I was greeted by narrow unspoiled streets with lots of busy little shops and restaurants. After a light lunch I wondered how to best spend the few hours ahead.

Lipari l ©ornaoreilly (12)
Lipari l ©ornaoreilly (10)
Lipari l ©ornaoreilly (11)

Ignoring the famous archaeological museum, due to my time constraints, I hired an informative taxi driver/guide and headed off for a round trip of the island.

Lipari l ©ornaoreilly (13)

It was a clear blue day in early summer and the neighbouring islands of Salina and Vulcano seemed close enough to touch.

Apparently, Lipari is the only island in this spectacular group of seven islands that is alive all year round, though my guide assured me that he hibernates between November and March and that the island is often cut off from the mainland by winter storms.

Lipari l ©ornaoreilly (5)

Lipari, apparently, has a year round population of just over 11,000, which swells during the tourist season to up to 20,000 souls.

Driving north up the eastern shore I saw my first pumice mine.  Because of volcanic activity, the island is rich in pumice and obsidian.

The island of Salina, where the wonderful movie “Il Postino” was shot, loomed ahead as we rounded the northernmost point of the island.


Heading south once more the island of Vulcano, with its scarred landscape hove into view.


Back then to the town of Lipari and the ferry which took me back to the main island of Sicily promising myself a return visit as soon as possible.

Lipari l ©ornaoreilly (2)

by Orna O’Reilly

Orna is a former interior designer who practised in South Africa, Mozambique and Ireland. Now writing full time, she moved from Ireland to the Veneto area of Italy in 2013.

She writes her way around Italy by blogging about it (at Ornasite) and is currently writing a novel set in Venice. You can follow her tweets @OrnaOR, and her Travel & Design page on FB.

11 Responses to “Lipari: Among the Volcanos”

  1. Anne Robichaud

    Ah, what nostalgia for Lipari! Thanks, Orna: reminded me we have to go back..and to nearby Stromboli. Yes, Salina, too, a gem.
    Thanks so much for your note on Sicilian gems!

  2. Marie Giacalone

    Wow! Thank you so much for this note- what a gorgeous place! I will keep this in mind for my next trip to Sicily.

  3. Gian Banchero

    Ahh, at last I know the name of the island where IL POSTINO was made, SALINA!!! I’ve often wondered the name of the island, now Salina is my destination!! Thank you Orna!!!

  4. Linda Boccia

    Aside from the other wonderful scenes and history the Island of Lipari is the home to one of the most delicious wines called Malvasia della Lipari. It is a muscat canelli grape with hints of apricot, and delicate peach. It is a dessert wine, yet can go fabulously with fresh fruits and cheeses as well. Of all the Italian muscat wines those from Lipari are arguably the most delicious!

  5. Linda Boccia

    And welcome back Italian Notebook, I have missed you very much!

  6. vince di Maggio

    My wife’s grandfather was born on Salina and grew up on Lipari
    His name was Bartolo Bonanno; his father, grandfather and brother died there
    his brother owned a cement factory or tile co or something
    no children, probably the maid or workers took over the property


Leave a Reply