Arcuate fold-and-thrust belts have been extensively studied in the literature. Less attention, however, has been paid to the characteristics of local-scale arcuate structures, meaning 5–10 km long fold or thrust traces that display map-view curvature. Nevertheless, detailed investigation of small arcuate structures hosted in major arcs can contribute to understanding the pervasiveness of deformation mechanisms. We performed a combined geological and palaeomagnetic study on 21 sites from a c. 60 km2 area in the Northern Apennines in order to analyse minor arcs at a kilometric scale. As evidenced by the geological and structural analysis performed on the 21 sites, the fold axial trend changes from N–S to NW–SE in the study area. The comparison with palaeomagnetic results shows the lack of correlation between vertical axis rotations and fold axial trends. As a consequence, the minor arcuate shapes of thrusts and related folds are interpreted as mostly primary features inherited from the geometry of the palaeomargin, represented by pre-orogenic faults, according to a context of inversion tectonics.