For the 1st person to be before amare, you use MI instead of ME because in that case amare would work like a reflexive verb:
Lui MI ama = He loves ME = Él ME ama
Lui ama ME = He loves ME = Él me ama a MÍ
Have in mind that the second sentence makes more emphasis on the fact that HE loves ME
can somebody please explain...? a) why is it "io la amo....." and not "io l'amo...." and/or b) if it said "io l'amo e lei ama me" could that (hypothetically) be translated as "I love HIM and she loves me"? (as in a love triangle) or would that have to be "io lo amo e lei ama me"?
But of course! Just went back to my pronoun cheat chart and there see my note that the pronouns for object of a preposition are also used for stress, the tonic pronouns: me, te for mi and ti.
Alas tonic to me means a mixer with gin or else sassafras tea to strengthen the blood after winter.
Or maybe the Italians remember their Latin direct object pronouns. "Ego amo TE. Amasne ME?"
So, since "lei ama me" e "lei mi ama" are both acceptable, is "io amo lei" correct as well?
"Me" is used for emphasis. Scroll down here: https://www.duolingo.com/skill/it/Clitic-Pronouns-1
A German native speaker showed me the most ancient surviving poem written in German, if I remember correctly. It began translated into English "I love you and you love me." I am old but I remember how powerful falling in love was. So what? The grammar subtlety of using "me" rather than "mi" will stay in memory.