The Perceivable City. A Study on the Multisensory Perception of Selinous’ Urbanscape (Chiarenza)

Temple C, Acropolis of Selinous
Temple C, Acropolis of Selinous Nicola Chiarenza


The project aims to study the changes in the urbanscape and in urban perception of Selinous between the Classical and First Hellenistic times.
Selinous, one of the biggest and richest Greek colonies in the Mediterranean, has represented, since its foundation around the third quarter of the 7th century BC, a border between at least three different “cultural landscapes”: the Greek Sicily, the Phoenician-Punic cities and the indigenous settlements.
After the destruction of the city in 409 BC by the Carthaginian troops, a new settlement under the Carthaginian authority arose on some of the areas of the previous Greek city - mainly on the hill of the so called Acropolis - from the second half of the 4th century BC until the middle of the 3rd century BC. The functional purpose of many buildings and areas of the city was changed and new people coming from several areas of the Mediterranean arrived.
From the points of view of urban agency and urban perception, the Carthaginian conquest and the following years produced a deep scar in the history of Selinous.
In order to investigate these matters the project will be carried out according to two different strategies:

  • studying, according a diachronic perspective, the urban changes of Selinous between the Classical and Hellenistic times;
  • focusing on different contexts of the city.


Within this framework, the project has focused in 2018 on water in the urban sanctuary, and on the Selinous’ streetscape as a space where it is possible to investigate social practices and daily experiences.

Beside the studies on urbanscapes and sensory perception in ancient contexts, the project will resort to other disciplines, as the archaeological chemistry, the cognitive sciences applied to the architecture and the psychological sciences applied to space perception.