Memorie della Società Astronomica Italiana is the official scientific Journal of the Italian Astronomical Society (SAIt). It is probably the oldest journal dedicated to astrophysics. In fact, it was founded in 1872 by Pietro Tacchini in Palermo, as Memorie della Società degli Spettroscopisti Italiani, almost one quarter of a century before the Astrophysical Journal. Since its beginning it was dedicated more to astrophysics than to classical astronomy. The Journal changed its name to the current one in 1920, when the Società degli Spettroscopisti became Società Astronomica Italiana, President Vincenzo Cerulli. The change in title was accompanied by a change from the large format to the current one.
For more than 50 years, the Nuova Serie of the Memorie had a fundamental role in the diffusion of the work of Italian astronomers, publishing occasionally also papers of foreign scientists. The cover was redesigned in 1974, when the directorship passed from Guglielmo Righini to Livio Gratton, changing from a sober ivory to blue. This change was accompanied by a deep editorial change as well. A national scientific journal had in fact a diminished role, at the time when many European journals had merged into Astronomy and Astrophysics. The Memorie started to publish mainly proceedings of international meetings, and adopted English as an official language, to ensure a wider international circulation.
The international target and the monographic nature of each issue where hence reinforced, and constitute now the distinctive character of the Journal. In 1986, to further underline the new course, the Board of the Society decided for a new cover, a bright red with an insert from the monographic subject of each issue. Since 1991, after the death of Livio Gratton, Roberto Pallavicini, who was Editorial Director since 1984, has been its director, assisted by Achille Leani. In 2002 Piercarlo Bonifacio has been nominated director of the Journal.