The analysis of Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) is not new in economics. However, researchers still struggle in giving a shape to the founding nature of CCIs: creativity, heterogeneous and difficult concept to capture. This work has a twofold aim. First, building on a diachronic review of the main approaches to CCIs, it proposes a novel definition of creativity in CCIs, highlighting both the heterogeneous creative forms and the strong local roots it embeds. Second, a novel framework is presented and operationalised empirically, allowing for an innovative territorial mapping of creative CCIs across EU regions.