Last Friday, Melbourne tragically lost one of its pioneering café owners, Sisto Malaspina, who for decades greatly contributed to our city’s renowned coffee culture.
Our Melbourne community has been in shock and we’ve all been pouring out our grief for the legendary Italian Sisto, who was full of smiles, charm and represented the warm heartbeat of Melbourne and its multicultural society.
I have many special memories of Pelligrini’s. In my twenties, as a RMIT post-grad marketing student, Pellegrini’s became my daily hangout, in the morning and evening. Back then, it was one of the rare places that served a true Italian coffee and it was “the” place to meet friends or dates, for a glass of vino and a plate of steaming pasta, while being entertained by the lively Signore (Italian cooks) in the back room and their cheeky stories.
Over the years, via destination marketing campaigns and communications efforts, Pelligrini’s has always been featured as one of Melbourne’s quintessential visitor hot-spots. Years later it is still going strong as the place for both locals and visitors to enjoy.
Sisto and the Pelligrini team have contributed so much to Melbourne’s envied lifestyle for so many years. From a visitor perspective, Sisto epitomised exactly what we marketers try to convey about our city and our people – that Melbourne is a friendly city and its people have big hearts.
This has been confirmed this week, with our community releasing their sorrow regarding Sisto and generating almost $140,000 through a GoFundMe page for the homeless trolley man, who tried to stop the Bourke Street attacker. This generosity definitely restores the faith in our community, who do care about what is happening to the people of Melbourne.
I’m pleased that our governments, both state and local, are recognising Sisto’s legendary contribution by giving him a State funeral next week, and the City of Melbourne is considering changing the name of Crossley Lane to Sisto Lane, which is so appropriate.
Here at DM, we extend our condolences to the Malaspina family, the Pelligrini’s team and the families who were affected as they deal with their loss and affliction.
Despite its outcome, this situation is a timely reminder to appreciate and value our city, our people, our visitors, our families and friends as much as possible as we approach the upcoming festive season.