Melburnians will be able sit and reflect on the legacy of Sisto Malaspina at a permanent memorial that will be installed outside his Pellegrini’s café and restaurant early next year.
Lord Mayor Sally Capp says the City of Melbourne has designed a memorial table and plaque honouring Sisto as a fitting tribute to one of the pioneers of Melbourne’s café culture.
“We met with Sisto’s family to discuss the best way to remember his contribution to Melbourne, and it became clear that creating a space outside Pellegrini’s where people can sit and reflect would be a fitting tribute to his famous sense of hospitality,” the Lord Mayor says.
“Sisto used to sit, chat to people and watch the world go by out the front of his café, and we hope Melburnians will take the time to do the same in his memory.”
The memorial table will feature a portrait of Sisto by Melbourne illustrator Oslo Davis and a dedication reading ‘Sisto loved Melbourne – and Melbourne loved him back’.
“Sisto was central to the wonderful experience of visiting Pellegrini’s, so it’s fitting that his welcoming smile will become a permanent feature in our city,” the Lord Mayor says.
“Many locals and visitors will remember their own connection to Sisto and Pellegrini’s at the memorial table. He was renowned for his friendly service and made people from all over the world feel welcome having a coffee in Melbourne.”
Arriving from Italy in the 1960s, the City of Melbourne says Sisto is one of its most celebrated migrant success stories. He and his business partner Nino Pangrazio purchased Pellegrini’s in 1974 and owned and operated it together.
Sisto was awarded a Lord Mayor’s commendation in 2014 for operating a small business for more than 40 years. The success of Pellegrini’s with its devoted clientele, the city says, is testament to his generous personality and many decades of hard work.
The City of Melbourne received many suggestions on how to honour Sisto’s life after he died in the Bourke Street terrorist attack on 9 November 2018.
In the wake of the tragedy and in the lead up to the anniversary, City of Melbourne has worked with the Malaspina family to create an appropriate memorial.
Sisto’s son David Malaspina is in negotiations with Nino Pangrazio to purchase his share of Pellegrini’s.
“Our family is delighted and very proud that Dad’s life will be celebrated with a beautiful artwork that is also very practical. Dad loved nothing more than to sit and have a coffee with our customers, many of whom became life-long friends,” David says.
“I look forward to looking out of the window of Pelligrini’s and watching people learn about Dad while enjoying a coffee at his table.”