on 19 May 2009
Fewer than 200 pages, but gets through a lot. Manages to be both concise and thorough. Logically organised and easy to use, it has exercises at the end of each chapter and solutions at the back. Not aimed at a tourist looking for a few useful phrases - it's more for someone looking for a thorough grounding in the basics of Italian, and, from that perspective, highly recommended.
on 23 February 2016
A neglected little gem.
Focuses on the key concepts you'll need for a basic foundation in the language, with only the most important exceptions.
This is Pareto's Law in action - you're getting the 10% of grammar that will cover 90% of any day-to-day interaction without being swamped in detail.
The authors have a knack for simplifying complex topics. Each point is crisply and clearly described in just a few lines, followed by numerous examples. And there are ample exercises with an answer key at the back.
Despite the unpromising cover, the internal layout is unusually clear and easy to navigate.
As the title implies, this is more of a workbook than a reference. Because of the manageable level of detail it should be possible to rattle through this grammar in a month or two and automate the patterns. Then you'll be ready to move on to a more detailed middle-level reference grammar such as Denise de Rome's excellent "Soluzioni".
I stumbled across this in a charity shop, and find it difficult to understand why it isn't better known. It has replaced the Collins Easy Learning as my favourite introductory Italian grammar.