An Italian science fiction series published by Arnoldo Mondadori Editore since 10 October 1952, the first issue of I Romanzi di Urania featured Arthur C. Clarke's novel The Sands of Mars (as Le Sabbie di Marte). The series' original name (meaning 'Urania's novels') was shortened to Urania in 1957 following the closure of a similarly titled Italian science fiction publication, Urania Rivista ('Urania Magazine'). At its height Urania had a weekly circulation of 160,000 copies a month, making it Italy's best-selling sf periodical. The contents of each issue varied, with most comprising a whole novel only, while some included any combination of novel, novella and/or short stories.
Urania's first editor was Giorgio Monicelli (brother of movie director Mario Monicelli). He was succeeded in 1964 by renowned Italian writers and intellectuals Carlo Fruttero and Franco Lucentini, who also contributed some short stories written under pseudonyms. Between 1985 and 1990 their role was taken over by Gianni Montanari, a well-known SF editor and writer. Most of the stories published by Urania up until the 1990s were by English and Americans, including famed authors such as Isaac Asimov, Alfred Elton van Vogt, Robert A. Heinlein, J. G. Ballard and Philip K. Dick. Several French authors had their works published in the 1950s, while A. Bertram Chandler is another well-known science fiction writer to have his work appear in the magazine. Interestingly, the works of Italian authors were for several decades only published under pseudonyms. This policy has since changed and local contributions have become both more common and acknowledged.