From Central Asia, pear spread from the Neolithic period throughout western Europe (pear seeds have been found at many prehistoric sites). Cultivation of pear appears to have begun in China more than 4000 years before our era. Abate pear is very popular in Italy, where it obtained a certification of origin, although it was discovered in France by the Fetel Abbey. More recently, it is also being cultivated in Catalonia, Chile and Argentina. The fruit is an oblong shape with a yellow skin very slightly pitted whose flavor is particularly soft and sweet. The largest producer is Italy.