The most gloriously un-PC thing I've filed under 'well, you live and learn' recently; I bought another Alfa and happened to be reading some shit about the history of the marque and came across some stuff on the logo.
It transpires that the snake thing is a symbol of one of the major historical families of Milan and is known as the Biscione
. As a heraldic symbol, it is described as:
(a) serpent in the act of consuming a human; usually a child and sometimes described as a Moor or an Ottoman Turk.
In other words I'm driving around with a badge of a snake eating a Muslim child, and a flag that's been co-opted by the EDL. Nice
It turns out that Alfa themselves would prefer to give it a bit of a spin
about renewal and rebirth and all that shit. That's OK then.