Born at Cortina on 22 December 1902, he completed his high-school studies at Zurich (1914 - 1920), where he learnt his first notions of natural sciences, French, English and German and studied the piano at the conservatory. In 1920, he returned to Cortina and joined his father's photo-optical company and acquired an in-depth knowledge of photography.
This was the start of his career as a naturalist.
In 1922, Rinaldo created a herbarium of Cortina plants. The project took him 15 years to complete and finally comprised about one thousand species.
In 1939, he published "La flora montana e alpina di Cortina d'Ampezzo", together with Professor Pampanini of Catania University. He also built up a collection of beetles and butterflies of great scientific value.
His interests stretched far and wide but there is no doubt that his most precious contribution to Natural Sciences was as a palaeontologist.
In 1935, he found a strange stone on the bed of the Boite river (now we know it was a coral fossil) that made him very excited. Thus the quest began, especially in the cassian layers in the area around Cortina, which produced an incredible number of fossils (some say over one million specimens) and earned Zardini the respect of palaeontologists the world over.