Well I was warned before I bought it...shouldve taken the advice.
Alfa's are no worse that any other manufacturer IF maintained properly. 1.9 has a problem with water pumps but this isn't Alfa's fault .. it's the water pump manufacturer.
I see plenty of Audis, Beemers, Mercs and other "reliable" cars on hard shoulder of motorways ... I don't hear them getting a bad press! Audi/VW were notorious for coil pack failures a few years ago. My friend's Merc has just been in for a timing chain issue (at vast expense ... out of warranty). I know a neighbour whose Honda Jazz was REPLACED because it kept filling up with rain water!! A large number of 156's in the early days were leased cars ... the number in back at the dealers for repairs were high especially when driven by ex-BMW drivers ...
(Apparently they believe that engine oil replenishes itself ... )
There are plenty of Alfa's on this forum with high mileage, petrol and diesel. They get there because they are looked after. Any car neglected is going to fail sooner or later.
So when was you cambelt last replaced and was it within the revised mileage/age recommendations from Alfa ... ???
PS Not having a go, but if the previous owner neglected the car, or you were misled into believing it was all ok, you are the one who will suffer .. as you are now.
It's not the car's fault. And yes, my cambelt went in 2002 ... that wasn't the belt. It was the mechanical tensioner.