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Fault data from the central Apennines (Italy) were integrated with earthquake information from seismic catalogues in order to derive an empirical relation between the magnitude of the strongest historical earthquake and the fractal dimension of active fault patterns. We show that the assessment of earthquake magnitude from fault data has given good results, hence suggesting that the relation may be used to evaluate the potential hazard of seismic source areas in the Apennines using a low-cost methodology. We also suggest that a similar approach may be used in other seismic belts worldwide, provided that the basic seismological and geological information needed is adequate to constrain the appropriate relation between these two size parameters.

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