Speaking of heights, we'll start with sensational range of mountains and volcanoes that inhabit Italy. The Dolomites and Alps dominate the country's far north, providing towering vistas and some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Europe. Aosta Valley just may earn the title of Italy's skiing and climbing paradise, with access to such international reputable mountains as the Italian half of Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, and Gran Paradiso. Then again, why hit the powder when magma-spraying craters are a more uncommon rush? Everyone knows the more moderate elevation of Mount Vesuvius (near Naples) and its historic enshrining of the city of Pompei, but if you head further south to Sicily you may experience the continuous frothing of Mount Etna and its near alien landscape of lava trails and volcanic soil. There are also two other active volcanoes often overlooked by tourists: Vulcano and Stromboli, both in the Aeolian Islands just north of Sicily. Book guides to the craters and consider your life changed.
Italy is also home to more extreme adventures. There are a handful of skydiving drop zones near Milan that providing epic mountain context to an exhilarating free-fall, a half dozen locations in Sicily, and also drops near Rome, San Marino, and more. Two of the best bungee jumps in the world can be had at the 175 meter high Altopiano di Asiago (between Verona and Venice) and the world-famous Colossus Bridge (152 meters) in Veglio. Rock climbers have plenty of daring routes and invigorating landscapes, including Lake Garda in Trentino, Bismantova (just south of Bologna), and Finale in the gorgeous seaside town of Liguria. If you crave an adrenaline rush, there is no shortage of opportunities.
As far as coastal beauty, there is such an abundance that it's almost unfair to name some and leave others out. The areas you've heard of include the Italian Riviera, Cinque Terra, the Amalfi Coast, and Costa Smerelda on the island of Sardinia, but the intrigue of Italy is that there are places just as jarringly attractive where tourists aren't crawling from every cafe, piazza or cruise ship. The undiscovered Puglia region (Italy's "boot-heel"), the unhurried grandeur of Le Marche, and other coastal gems await the traveler looking to take in sand, surf, and sun with a minimum of tourist posturing. Not to mention that some of the best adventure circumstances surround freshwater bodies like Lake Garda and Lake Como north of Milan, where windsurfing and other water sports are commonly practiced. Windsurfers will also find exemplary conditions in Sardinia (Coluccia Beach and Porto Pollo). More of the top windsurfing destinations may be found here.
We're only skimming the surface here. If Italy has your attention, then check out our city-level adventures, travel videos, trip planner, and the hordes of further information on the site. Continue exploring and you'll find out why Italy is a premiere region for adventure.