The Italians stole an early march in the group with a 17-21 21-8 15-8 win in 56 minutes.
The Russian team of Evgeniya Ukolova and Ekaterina Khomyakova started well and took the first set thanks largely to Khomyakova's impressive blocking at the net.
But the game slowly swung in the Italian duo's favour, and after starting the deciding set strongly their victory was assured when an injury to Ukolova took the fight out of the Russians.
The two sides are due to take on Host Nation Great Britain as part of their women's Pool F programme.
Meanwhile, gold medal hopefuls Emanuel Rego and Alison Cerutti of Brazil survived a major scare to claim a well-earned three-set win over Austria in their men's Pool A clash.
In an enthralling encounter lasting an hour, the Brazilian pair fought back from a set down against a team ranked 31 places below them in the world standings to post a 19-21 21-17 16-14 victory.