Based around the thousand year old city of the same name, the Livorno Coast is a travel destination that melds both the world of culture and the world of water sports into one sweet package. One of the rare areas on the western shore of Italy to offer more than pretty looking stretches of civilization and enough sand to catch a tan (and little else), this is a worthy addition to your itinerary if you're one to live a life of adventure above and below the waves.
Livorno itself is a classic Renaissance town, with open piazzas, ancient bridges, and even water fortresses. But the real intrigue is its access to adventure activities. Scuba diving is common from Livorno south to Piombino, while specific sites like the cave dives at Calafuria and Grotta del Grongo and a handful of shipwrecks just south are excellent opportunities. Surfing is big along the beach of Il Sale, where favorable wave conditions usually prevail no matter the season, while windsurfing and kitesurfing are big up and down the coast (although Tre Ponti in Ardenza has the most consistent reputation). As for swimming and snorkeling, the nearby beaches in the smaller communities of Vada, Cecina, and Castiglioncello are quickly reached by all forms of public transportation.
Only about an hour's drive west of Florence, the Livorno Coast will be your most approximate chance to enjoy the sea and sand and even test your more extreme sensibilities. Check out our links section for a bit more info and inspiration.