The former Swindon Town manager will go up against the Black Cats' fierce rivals Newcastle United on Sunday for three crucial points as both sides try to avoid the drop.
"Alan Pardew sent me a letter already this week to wish me the best of luck for the future, apart from in the derby, of course!" Di Canio told the Shields Gazette. "My answer was very gentle, but the last line about the derby was very similar to his.
"Alan Pardew is a passionate man. I like him, we don't have to fight. We saw him celebrate with the fans when Newcastle scored a late winner in the last game against Fulham at the weekend."
Sunderland sit one place above the relegation zone on goal difference alone, while the Magpies reside five points away from the Championship.