The former England ace revealed Di Canio took time to mentor him.
Terry said of Di Canio: "I played against him when he was at Charlton. He had the chop in the bag, movement was fantastic.
"Just a real nice guy I found on the pitch. Always he spoke to me after games and said 'listen, maybe you should do this and do that', which was really nice at the time."
Asked for details of the precise advice given him by Di Canio, Terry said: "Just certain things. When he made certain movements, that I should maybe have been tighter and stuff like that.
"I was only young at the time when I was playing against him when he was at West Ham and sides like that.
"Players like that... I had the likes of [Gianfranco] Zola and these guys teaching me every day, but from an opposition player it was quite nice to get that literally two-word sentence. A two-word sentence was enough and something that I learnt from.
"He always gave a battle. If there was a little tussle he'd get up and shake your hand after and that kind of thing. So very fair, very passionate, as we've seen with his character, and his ability was fantastic.
"He was a real tough player to play against. He was a credit and I can only speak highly of him."