Re: My 2.0 TS sounds like my old mans 406 diesel :(
From my experience with the variator diesley noise, it tends to go away once the engine is warmed up. However, I have heard that in very bad cases that noise can last for a lot longer.
Also bear in mind that in later models the variator design was changed to be more reliable, and you have one of the early types which were quite bad. Add to that the fact it's now over 12 years old that variator must be in a poorly state!! (if it has never been replaced)
It could just be the variator, but from what you have said about your tensioner failing as Nige says above it could be more serious engine damage, i.e. the big end.
My advice is take it to an alfa specialist garage, they should be able to tell the difference between a bad variator and a major problem such as crankshaft damage.
To err is human, but you need an Alfa to really screw things up!
The road to heaven is paved with old Alfa's.