The 44-year-old Italian celebrated on his knees as the Black Cats romped to a 3-0 win at St James' Park, their first in enemy territory in 13 years and just their second anywhere in 17 attempts.
A priceless triumph ended a run of nine league games without a victory and lifted the club three points clear of the relegation zone with five matches left to play.
Asked if that was how he had dreamt the first derby encounter of his reign would be, Di Canio said: "Can I tell you something? Sometimes, some special things have to remain inside yourself. It's not good to share with others because it's very deep inside yourself.
"But I believe in this thing. Before the kick-off, I saw the face of my Mama smiling. Exactly yesterday, it was one year since she passed away.
"Exactly one year ago, there was the same situation. I was in the dug-out the day after she passed away and we won the game - I was at Swindon - and it has happened again. For this, I have to thank not only my Mama, so my dedication goes to her, to my Mam."
Di Canio, who described his latest experience of a big derby as "beautiful", was thrilled by the way his game-plan was implemented by the players, but warned them not to get too carried away.
He said: "We have to drop back and put both feet on the floor. For the result in the area, it is a massive step, but in terms of the table, it's a small step. We are on 34 [points] now, we are not safe, but it's obvious that it was a fantastic result for everybody."