Carlo Alberto Pinelli was born in Turin on the same day, month and year of the present Dalai Lama (06 July 1935). He received a degree in Letters and the History of the Art of India and Central Asia from Rome's "La Sapienza" University.

Son of playwright and screenwriter Tullio Pinelli, and married to Anna Giolitti, in his youth he took part in archaeological surveys and excavations in Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan under the guidance of Professors Giuseppe Tucci and Salvatore Puglisi.

He worked for a few years as assistant to the Chair of the History of the Art of India at "La Sapienza" University in Rome, collaborating with Prof. Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli on compiling the Enciclopedia dell'Arte Antica (Encyclopaedia of Ancient Art) published by the Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana – Treccani.

Pinelli continues to conduct periodic conferences and seminars on the Buddhist Art of the Gandhara at cultural institutions and museums. In 1978 the University of Salerno conferred the legal academic title "cultore della materia", qualifying him to teach Cultural Anthropology at university level.