It is said that the city of Lipari was built before the Trojan War by Liparo.
The first human settlements in the Aeolian Islands date back 5000 years ago, when populations from Sicily were attracted by the large quantities of obsidian .
The peak of trade for Lipari was when the sale of obsidian took on extreme economic importance for the whole Mediterranean Sea: in this period, known as Upper Neolithic, Lipari became one of the most populated settlements in the Mediterranean.
The economic awakening and commercial trade led to contact with the Greeks around 2600 years ago: it was from here that the islands got their name “Aeolian Islands”, from the Greek-Mycenaean populations of Aeolian lineage, from the legends about the mythical King Aeolus , keeper of the winds, mentioned in Homer’s magnum opus, the Odyssey.
Around 2400 years ago, Lipari was occupied by the Carthaginians, who made the island one of their best naval stations, thanks to its excellent ports and strategic position.
At the outbreak of the First Punic War , Lipari allied itself with the Carthaginians and suffered repeated attacks from the Roman fleet. It was defeated by the Romans in 252 BC by Consul Caius Aurelius Cotta. Lipari was then conquered between 37 and 36 BC by Octavius against Sextus Pompey, and the partisans of Pompey were exiled to Campania. The island began to flourish again and entered the orbit of Syracuse then Rome, which also developed Lipari as a spa resort .
After the Roman period, Lipari was probably a bishop’s seat and a destination for hermits seeking refuge under Byzantine rule. Alongside the enormous inconvenience caused by the eruptions, Lipari had to face the Arab invasions that, in 839, razed the island to the ground, forcing the population into slavery. After the long and dark period caused by the Arab and Byzantine rule, Lipari again experienced a golden period thanks to the Norman rule that repopulated the island and fortified the Castle. Under the banners of Roger I, the Great Count, Lipari was returned to the Christian faith with the foundation, in 1083, of a Benedictine monastery dedicated to St. Bartholomew, which is still in excellent condition today. The much desired and sought-after tranquillity came to an end in 1544 when the pirate Barbarossa , allied with the French and with a fleet of 150 ships, struck a blow by burning houses and the cathedral and forcing the entire population into slavery which, at the time, was around 8000 people.
The great dismay of Charles V, sovereign of Naples, led him to build a more imposing wall, and encouraged repopulation through tax exemptions. Despite the commitment of the sovereign of Naples, the concern of the inhabitants for the numerous raids lasted until the disappearance of Turkish piracy around 1700.