My older sister has a lot of fancy shoes. Like 10's of thousands of $ worth. She thinks, (and I agree) that Italian shoes are generally not made to last, they are more about fashion/design than quality. I own a 2 pairs of gucci loafers and a pair of Tod's Driving Moc's. While they aren't cheaply made, they don't seem as well made as the one pair of C&J's that I have. I'd say my Alden's too, but their QC makes me stop short.
Yeah, I'm sure some Italian shoes are very well made, but they probably cost more than Gucci/Ferragamos.
I must admit when I was younger I wore a few Ferragamo models (Gucci bit moccasins are still very good and classic IMO for that style) and thought they were the bees knees before moving on to Alden.
I still don't think Alden has high recognition as a fashion brand outside of the blogs and forums, and it's probably best kept that way