Italian coverage of the Olympics so far can largely be summed up in a word, writes our man John Hooper. And that word is: “Phwooaaaargh!”

The drooling began during the opening ceremony. The team parade had only got to C when RAI’s (male) commentators - inspired by the lanky lovely holding up the standard of Cameroon - were remarking on what a crop of little (and not so little) hotties the Games looked as if it would bring. Ever since then, Italy’s two best-selling newspapers, have been slogging it out curve for curve to highlight the real point of London 2012 - the “bellezza” of the athletes. Who needed results when La Repubblica, reporting the show put on by the beach volleyball cheerleaders, could draw its readers’ attention to what it termed the “B side of the Olympics”? Indeed. The blonde German weighlifter, Julia Rohde only finished 11th in the 53 kilo class. But that did not stop Corriere della Sera from devoting an entire photo gallery to her stolid charms.

Back at La Repubblica, there was evident disappointment over the fact that, because of the London cold, “The [beach] volleyball players are covering up” - a fateful distraction that allowed the paper’s rivals to edge ahead temporarily with a lavish photo reportage on Hungary’s prospects in the swimming, or rather “La bella Zsuzsanna [Jakabos]”.

At which point, someone (female?) seems to have had a word with Corriere’s hacks, because today saw the appearance of an exhaustive rundown on the cheesecake on display.It was soon among today’s ‘most viewed’.