37km (23 miles) N of Milazzo, 41km (25 miles) W of Messina.

Known to Greeks as Meligunis, Lipari is the largest of the islands and it's the best base for exploring the entire archipelago. Lipari town sits on a plateau of red volcanic rock on the southeastern shore, framed by two ports: Marina Lunga, where the larger vessels dock, and Marina Corta, the smaller fishermen's harbor.

Nearly all activity is centered on the area between these two harbors, where locals convene, and which includes the largest concentration of tourist facilities in all of the Aeolian Islands. There are four other villages on the island, including Canneto, which is only 2km (1 1/4 miles) north of Lipari town. Acquacalda is found on the northern tip of the island. Inland and to its southwest is Quattropani. If you're heading southeast from Quattropani back to Lipari town, you'll pass through the small town of Pianoconte.

Marina Lunga and Marina Corta flank, at the base, the acropolis of Lipari, which includes the castle and its 15th-century walls. Inside these walls are the imposing Duomo, two decaying baroque churches, and the Museo Archeologico (archaeological museum), one of the most important in Sicily.

Corso Vittorio Emanuele is the main thoroughfare in Lipari and where most of the daily hubbub unfolds; it is where you'll find the bulk of local businesses, including bars, banks, souvenir shops, grocery stores, and eateries. The local Tourist Office is located at no. 202 (tel. 090-9880095).