We present a developmental model concerning the ability to understand and produce figurative expressions. The model proposes a development through five phases from a purely literal view of language to a complete mastering of figurative language, as shown by metalinguistic skill and the ability to coin new non-literal expressions. This developmental model is based on two principles. According to the first, the comprehension and production of figurative language do not require any specific processing mechanism; according to the second, the ability to understand figurative language precedes the ability to produce it, as for literal language. The empirical evidence supporting the model is based on results coming from a set of studies conducted by the authors.