Sorry to hear your tale of woes...
So, it would seem that selective deafness is a requirement for Alfa 'technicians'. Frustrating, innit?
It would seem that Alfa have overstretched themselves globally, there is no way that the service provided by dealerships is close to BMW/Audi etc. It's good (for the older models) that there are so many skillful and enthusiastic independant specialists around, is it the same in NZ? My experience with Ducati means that two very fine specialists get all of my buisness whilst I give the Main dealers workshops a wide, wide berth.
Anyway, you have hit it on the head when you say that you've been driving the car just for the hell of it. That's exactly how I feel with my 147, a (trouble free) scoot thru the Cotswolds yesterday brought it all back to me.
Good luck getting your snags sorted, you have my sympathy,