The action of Cistercian abbeys concerning their patrimony during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries mainly consists of an extensive series of small and medium land acquisitions. This produces a whole system of documents which shed light on the intermediate groups of rural society, i.e. small aristocracy and countryside notables. The paper concentrates on Scarnafigi, a village in Cuneo's district, where the Cistercian abbeys of Staffarda and Rifreddo run their patrimonial business at different stages. The combination and conflict between the different systems of solidarity which characterise local society emerge openly. Land circulation, which cannot be described as a property market, shows how the Cistercian action on patrimony develops thanks to these social solidarities, being at the same time an occasion for the notables to consolidate their eminent position and the local clientships.