The Au peninsula is located in the Swiss Lake Zürich at the municipality Au between Wädenswil and Horgen in the Canton of Zurich.
The roughly half a square kilometer large peninsula is first mentionned in the year 1316 as «Owe» belonging to the commandry of the Knights Hospitaller in Bubikon. Until 1835 it was a domain of the old Zurich republic.
1651 the farm Au was acquired by the Swiss General Hans Rudolf Werdmüller (1614-1677). He renewed it as a Venetian style villa. General Werdmüller was a colourful personality. In Conrad Ferdinand Meyer’s novel „Der Schuss von der Kanzel“ (The shot from the pulpit), published in 1878, Werdmüller’s figure played the main role. C.F: Meyer erected by this a monument to Hans Rudolf Werdmüller as well as to Au peninsula.
Au peninsula got further literary honor: The German poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock (1724-1803) immortalized his 1750's visit in his „Ode an den Zürichsee“ (Ode to the Lake Zurich).
Among the famous residents was the author Mentona Moser (1874-1971), who was born on the Au: „Ich habe gelebt“ (I've lived, a book of Au-related descriptions) is one of her publishied books. Her mother was considered one of the richest women in Europe in 19th century. In her residence „Belle au bois dormant“ she met poets, philosophers, scientists and industrial magnats.
From 1678 on the owners of the estate changed several times. In 1917 it went over into the possession of Colonel Hans von Schulthess-Bodmer, who rebuilt it 1928/29 as a neo-baroque villa, constructed by architect Johann A. Freytag. The estate and a little landside lake belongs since 1989 to the Canton of Zurich.
1865/66 the first guest house was built on the top Au-Hill, the „Landgasthof Halbinsel Au“
Local industrials founded in 1911 the so called Au-consortium, that bought the middle part of the Au-Hill, together with the guest house.
1939 on the occasion of the „Swiss Landi Fair“ a new restaurant pavilion, the „Landi-Saal“, is added to the guest house.
Since 1911 the Au-consortium prevented the idyllic peninsula to be overbuilt and preserved it as recreation area for public use until today.