I was looking for flights to Florence or Rome, Italy (from Boston) in June of 2007 for a fall semester abroad. Alitalia was about $100-$200 USD cheaper than most of the other airlines at the time, but in retrospect I would have selected a different airline. While the flight staff was always friendly and accommodating and the in-flight service was good (though movie selection was less than favorable), the airline overall is below average. Our flight in August from Boston to Rome was canceled, along with another flight to Milan and we waited in a horrendous line for four hours to be rescheduled. Many people I know were put on flights that took very indirect routes (such as Boston to Philadelphia to Milan to Rome) and they were neither friendly at the reseveration desk nor particularly accommodating. There was a lack of communication in that we should have been notified prior to leaving for the airport yet were not, and we were not told what was going on for a very long time while waiting in line. They also neglected to tell us that we waited in line for hours to do what we could have done via phone from home.
Once in Italy, I know multiple people I was traveling with did not receive their luggage in time. Furthermore, four months later our return flight was canceled and the airline again failed to communicate current issues very well and were not very accommodating. Once again, people were put on various very inconvenient flights home.
An important thing to note is that Italian transportation workers love to strike, and we were the victims of these strikes multiple times, hence my low reliability rating. There is no wonder why the Italian government is trying to sell this struggling airline, and if possible I recommend that people stay away from flying with them.
Finally, I'd like to note that no one received any sort of compensation for the inconvenience the airline caused, and they make it very difficult to look up your flight records online.