The most intriguing set of adventure circumstances lie north of Florence, where the Apuan Alps hold court as the largest chain of peaks in the region. Topping out at over 6,000 feet, there is rock climbing (the Italian via ferrata routes, for instance) and hiking in spades, with panoramas that vary greatly as you get nearer to the sea. Just east is the area known as Garfagnana, which provides the type of atmosphere taht caters to tourists that value the vintage charm and modern amenities of hill towns that are approximate to everything from kayaking trips to limestone waterfalls to more day hikes than a year's itinerary can hold. Just east again is the Appenine ridgeline of Corno alle Scale, whose 6,000 foot peak is notable for its metal cross. Even further east are the recreational reservoirs of Suviana and Brasimone, both which provide a medley of water-based activities, as well as mountain biking and yes, even more hiking. All of these attractions are within an hour and half's drive from Florence.
Directly east of Florence are a broad dispersion of beech forest, accessed with ease from the tiny commune of Vallombrosa, which is known for its population of Benedictine monks. Heading south, you'll encounter the ubiquitous vineyards of the Chianti wine region; Greve is a great place from which to start a dizzying adventure in wine-tasting or to move on to the never-ending fields that spread west of Siena, where the Medieval hill town of Volterra serves as a central point of interest.
But enough about the terra firma. West of Florence is where the large majority of surfing, windsurfing, para-sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and more occupy the time of intrepid travelers. Both the Livorno Coast, anchored by Livorno itself, and the Tuscan Archipelago, anchored by the island of Elba, are excellent destinations for those who like a little sun and surf. There are even a few islands in the Tuscan chain that remain so wonderfully off-the-beaten-path that a stroll by day may find you serene and alone, while a stroll by night will grant you the company of a million stars (Pianosa and Capraia, we're looking at you).
Extreme adventurers may also skydive out of Lucca with Scuola Paracadutismo Lucca, while rock climbers will be surprised that there are some excellent crags on the aforementioned island of Elba, while the coastal town of Carrera is known for a handful of quality routes.
For further information, browse our individual activity pages or check out or incredible travel videos. The next thing you know, you'll be associating Florence with much more than Renaissance cathedrals.