In the middle there was a great variety of tenancies, or property regimes, predominating the mezzadria (sharecroppers). Italy also had the most diversified agriculture in Europe. Grains, while important, were considerably less so than in other places. Rice, which produced more than conventional cereals, was grown in the lower Po Valley and along the Adriatic coast. The vine and the olive tree, cultivated throughout the Mediterranean basin, were especially important in Italy, which also grew fruits (including citrus in the south), vegetables, forages and industrial crops, such as the plants from which vegetable dyes were obtained for the textile industry. However, despite its diversification, Italian agricultural production could not keep up with the pace of population growth; cultivation and overgrazing
You took their toll, with deforestation and soil erosion, among other consequences. Spain, with fertile coastal regions in the east and south, mountain ranges in the north and other areas, and plateau 1 that occupies the central part of the Iberian Peninsula, its most characteristic geographic feature, presented almost as much variety as Italy. Spanish agriculture received a rich heritage from its Muslim predecessors. The Arab and Moorish peoples who had inhabited Valencia and Andalusia before the reconquest were excellent gardeners and brought the art of irrigation to a high level. Unfortunately, the Spanish monarchs, driven by religious fanaticism, squandered this heritage. In the same year they conquered the kingdom of Granada and Columbus discovered America, they decreed the expulsion of the Jews (also expert farmers, as well as artisans) from the kingdom. The fall of Granada also led to the exodus of many Moorish subjects even before they were faced with the option of converting or fleeing ten years later. Those who converted, called Moriscos 2, continued to form the backbone and nerve of the agricultural economy in southern Spain for another century, before being likewise expelled in 1609. The Christians who replaced them were unable to preserve the intricate systems irrigation and other aspects of highly productive Moorish agriculture. This was partly due both to lack of incentives and lack of knowledge and skill. In the 16th century, all over Spain the land was concentrated in huge properties belonging to the aristocracy and the Church, the largest landowner of all.